The Blessing of the Angelus Bell Celebrates Historic Moment for Manhattan College

The ceremony was part of the College’s 100 years in the Riverdale section of the Bronx commemoration.

The blessing of the restored Angelus Bell on Saturday, June 3, represents a symbolic link between the historic Manhattan College and the Manhattan College of today. The ceremony was part of this year’s celebration of the College’s 100 years in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. The ceremony took place on Reunion Weekend and many alumni were able to attend to see their alma mater pay tribute to its past and present. Fr. Thomas Franks, OFM Cap., director and College chaplain, gave the blessing. Angelus Bell Ceremony

According to Amy Surak, director/archives and special collections and the writer of the bell’s plaque inscription, the bell was originally cast in 1854 and installed at the College when it was located at 131st Street and Broadway in the Manhattanville section of New York City. At the time, the College was called the Academy of the Holy Infancy. The bell initially called the campus community to daily prayers but was silenced when the Church of the Annunciation was erected on the corner of the College grounds and installed a similar Angelus Bell. 

Surak writes that when the College moved to Riverdale in 1923, the bell was relocated but stored in the attic until 1936, when the devotional practices were revived. With the support of Brother Angelus Gabriel and the financial assistance of the Alpha Sigma fraternity, the bell was installed on the right clerestory of the Chapel of De La Salle and His Brothers. 

From the late 1930s to the late 1940s, the Angelus Bell was a constant presence on campus, tolling morning, noon and night calling all to prayerful silence, according to Surak. That changed in the late 1940s when a new bell was installed in the belfry of the chapel and the Angelus Bell was permanently silenced. Angelus Bell

“The blessing of the Angelus Bell and its permanent installation on the Quadrangle is a historic moment for Manhattan College,” said Brother Daniel Gardner, FSC, president. “The bell’s rich history and connection between the old location of the College and the new, makes it an ideal symbol for us as we celebrate 100 years in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. It now holds a prominent place on campus where the community can look at it and appreciate the long-lasting Lasallian Catholic values of Manhattan College.”

By David Koeppel