Elders back bells’ return to Bulacan town church
CITY OF MEYCAUAYAN—-Elders of this city, including a former mayor, have backed a petition made by the Catholic diocese of Malolos to return two centuries-old bells turned over by American nuns to the Philippine government.
Adriano Daez, who served as Meycauayan mayor from 1982 to 1986, said people did not even know where the bells are.
The bells, purportedly taken from a Meycauayan church 112 years ago during the Philippine-American War, were turned over to the Philippine consulate office in Chicago last month by Catholic nuns from the Nebraska congregation of the Sisters of Mary.
An earlier report about the bells cited a note—written on a block of hard wood that is fastened to the bells—which states that the relics were taken from Meycauayan “after bombardment by Utah battery on March 29, 1899.”
Daez on Monday said city residents would want to see the bells restored to the Meycauayan church belfry. He said churchgoers have grown used to attending Mass and seeing only two bells in the belfry, which was designed for four bells.
“We grew up believing there would always be two empty slots in the belfry reserved for the missing bells… We don’t know the story [about how the bells vanished]. We don’t hear anyone talking about where the bells have gone to and who took them,” he said.
According to town records, Franciscan friars founded the Meycauayan church, which reveres St. Francis of the Assisi as its patron saint.
During the Spanish colonial era, Meycauayan served as the Bulacan capital. It celebrated its 400th foundation day in 1978.
Fr. Jay Lina, head of the Malolos diocese’s culture and heritage committee, said the church had requested Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario to bring the bells home to the city.
Lina said the diocese would take custody of the bells and store the relics at the Barasoain Church Museum if these are damaged. He said the bells would be restored to Meycauayan if these turn out to be in perfect condition. Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon
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