Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reader Question Of The Day: What's The Pattern Of Chiming Bells At Sacred Hearts On Summit?

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I love the chiming of church bells around the neighborhood, not for any religious reason, but for the way they remind me of my childhood in Europe. I have noticed though, that I have never been able to figure out the pattern of the chiming. Neither has reader Brooke, who writes:
"I'm not sure if you answer questions like this, but was wondering if you had any idea about the church bell at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Marry Church on Summit Street between Henry and Hicks. I was wondering if you knew the pattern behind when and for how long they decide to chime the church bells. I was always under the impression they chimed every hour on the hour to note what time it was, (8 chimes for 8am etc) and then again to note when mass was starting.
That doesn't seem to be the case with this church, the bells chime at random times throughout the day. I counted 62 bell chimes yesterday [Friday] morning starting at 8:19am."
This being Easter time, there definitely is bound to be more chiming. If you had any insight, Brooke and I would be interested to hear.

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26 comments:

Anonymous said...

You may or may not have noticed that there are hardly any church bells ringing in our neighborhoods anymore, especially St. Agnes and a few nearby churches. Have you noticed that the bells no longer ring before Mass and the St. Agnes bells no longer chime Christmas carols? Apparently, there are people who have moved to our neighborhoods who resent being awakened or bothered by church bells in the morning, whether on Sundays or otherwise. Unfortunately, the pastors (or bishops or whoever is in charge) acquiesced to these people and silenced the bells. This is an affront to us. I can't believe that churches would cave on this because the bells "bother" people. There are parishioners who made sizeable donations to St. Agnes to restore its bells, and now the bells cannot be rung. This is not an opinion; this is fact based on discussions with church pastors and parishioners. It could very well be that Sacred Hearts is the only church left in our neighborhood that rings its bells because the residents want it that way. Whatever happened to freedom of religion in this country?

Jill said...

Oh, how I miss the bells. Yes, another reason to dislike the newbies.

Anonymous said...

You are correct in everything you just said. Because of the folks who have complained about the bells, we never hear them from St Agnes, or St Peter/Paul. I cannot believe how the diocese caved in to this!! Sorry but to those who are bothered by church bells, in case you DID NOT KNOW,Brooklyn IS THE BOROUGH OF CHURCHES...does that ring a bell now????????

Anonymous said...

As one of the newer residents of the neighborhood, I have to say I love the bells. I hope the church will continue to ring them (and more often too!).

When I first moved here a few years ago, the bells seemed to ring more frequently. This year they seem to be quieter. The only pattern I have noticed is that for some time 13 bells seemed to ring at 1am (which honestly I thought was very strange, because of the time of day and symbolism--maybe I miscounted, but when it happened consistently it was comforting anyway). This no longer happens but now they seem to ring frequently before funeral masses.

It's a lovely tradition and I hope all the other newcomers to the neighborhood appreciate it as much as I do.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about Sacred Hearts' pattern, but I do remember growing up that churches would ring the bells to signal the "Angelus" prayer. If I'm not mistaken, the Angelus was rung at 8:00 am, 12:00 pm and either 4:00 or 6:00 pm. There was a specific pattern to the bells, and again, if I remember correctly, it was 3-3-3 and possibly 12. Maybe there's someone out there who might recall specifically the Angelus pattern?

Anonymous said...

I live right near St. Agnes and really wish the bells would chime again. I love that sound too!

Anonymous said...

There are problems with those bells and the clock which will take thousands of dollars to fix. The church has that on their list of capital projects, but fund raising is always difficult.

Anonymous said...

I'm not religious but I'd agree that the bells are great. They add charm to the neighborhood.

I too wonder what the significance of the timing is. It seems very random.

Are they real bells or recorded?

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha. Blame the yuppies.
Those bells at St Agnes are indeed a recording and I do not know when they stopped the real bells. Bell ringing is an art and yuppies needing sleep or not, money is the reason those recorded bells have stopped not because of a noise complaint. And if churches stop ringing due to complaints, well, bye bye St Patricks Cathedral and all the other wonderful chimes around the City. Who complains about church bells anyway? Silly comment.

Anonymous said...

St. Agnes has recorded bells. I don't know how accurate this is, but I've heard say that the recording is of bells at St. Peter's in Rome.

According to the pastor at St. Agnes, there is nothing wrong with the bells; they were silenced because of complaints. A neighbor of mine donated a sizeable amount to St. Agnes to maintain the bells, so he is understandably most upset about this.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 9:40 AM, how about Freedom from religion?
I like church bells once in a while, but I respect people's desire for peace and quiet. Thank goodness the people in charge of the bells understand.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the number of bells but they do ring the Angelus, which is supposed to be at 6am, 12 noon and 6pm. Long ago, the 6am ringing was changed to 8am to accommodate the objection to the 6am wake up. Bells used to ring as a call to Mass - every Mass, including funerals.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1 - It's always the new people - the outsiders, isn't it? Doesn't matter that people already living here might be annoyed, or that "new" people might like them, its just easier to point to "outsiders", isolate them, blame and exclude them. The Constitution only provides protection to religious organizations only insofar as they don't intrude on the rights of others. What that means, in practical terms is, if a religious institution violates a noise ordinance, its not protected. By the way, I'm "new" to the neighborhood, not religious, and I like them (and posting this on a "new" person's blog).

LP said...

I woke up in the middle of the night the other night and heard church bells at 4 and 5 AM. Seemed like an odd time of day. Didn't bother me (I was awake anyway!) but it made me wonder if they ring every night. I'd rather not find out first hand!

Anonymous said...

You know Jill, did you ever stop to think that us "newbies" moved to this neighborhood BECAUSE we love all the old timers telling us stories, the old local shops, the neighborhood feel to this place? Instead of grouping us all together, you should get to know some of us. We're are not all out to get you. I've only lived here 10 years and am already priced out from buying. Am I sad, yes. Am I bitter, no.

Anonymous said...

I was the reader that had the question initially, and I wasn't saying I disliked the bells, it was an inquiry as to when and why the bells ring when they do. They are beautiful to listen to, and I definitely don't want the church to stop, but 62 times at 8am?! And most other times when the bells chime it's at least 30+ times. Never 6 times at 6am or 11 times at 11am... So, that was the question - is there a rhythm to how they choose to ring them?

Anonymous said...

Really? A noise complaint? By whom? People
who live around St Agnes have been there for years. I even took my apartment because I can see and used to hear St Agnes from my roof. I want the bells back!
Now!! So why not just 9am and noon and 6pm? And holidays? I miss those bells.

Anonymous said...

Wild. st Agnes was destroyed by fire back in 1901.
http://www3.gendisasters.com/new-york/12448/brooklyn-ny-st-agnes-church-destroyed-lightning-amp-fire-jul-1901

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone was blaming the original poster about not liking the frequency of the bells at Sacred Hearts. It seems to me that perhaps those bell might be out of order or the timing mechanism needs to be adjusted.

Matt said...

Is anyone left in the neighborhood who attended Sacred Heart Jesus and Mary school? The grade school was located at 501 Hicks Street and another entrance at 44 Cheever Place. The high school was located at
135 Summit Street. Early to mid 80's Sacred Heart high school closed for good and the grade school moved into the high school address. 501 Hicks Street then turned into condo's.

Anonymous said...

A few of my friends attended Sacred Heart, both the grammar and high schools. I attended St. Agnes, and the school building suffered the same fate...it was turned into condos some 20-25 years ago if not more.

Matt said...

The church on
Degraw, Clinton, Hicks, and Court Streets are all Condo's now I think St. Stephens is the only one that is left. Although I went to Sacred Hearts from 1-8 grades I am not the most religious person around, but the neighborhood was sure different when the majority of people would go to church. I travel outside of these 5 boroughs and to many other city's all over America and it's really nice to see that its still out there. For those of us who know what its like don't get discouraged, outside this crazy city there are places that are like the way this neighborhood was 20-30 years ago. Im sorry to feel this way but I can't call NYC America any more it's now every other country. Although I live in NY thank God it's not near there anymore. Before anyone starts commenting on what do I care if I don't live there. My family is still living there trying to hold on to something that was great along with a handful of there friends. I also still work in Carrol Gardens, Cobble Hill, Red Hook, and Brooklyn Heights. And back in the day it was one neighborhood all known as Red Hook till the projects went up and BQE separated the area. To the new people moving into Red Hook now despite how up and coming you think it is. It's not. It's still a dangerous area.

Anonymous said...

Well, this morning the bells started at 8:14 and went for almost 6 straight minutes. That is well beyond charming...

Anonymous said...

Yes, Sacred Hearts bells ring a little too often. During special events they go on literally for 5 minutes. They also ring at about 15 past the hour, so they are not helpful in noting the time. And they ring all night--I've heard them at 1 and 2 am.

Anonymous said...

I just moved here from the other side of Carroll Gardens. I love Church Bells, and was so excited to live near Sacred Heart. But I am mystified at the timing and length of these bells. So far, I have heard them chime at midnight, 1 am, 4 am, 6 am and I counted SIXTY FOUR BELLS at 8:14 am. I would be delighted if someone could explain why bells have to ring all night or for so long. It shouldn't be hard to compromise.

Ian Smith said...

I'm just posting this after searching for any posts about the scheduling of the bell ringing. I'm at a loss to describe the haphazard timing of when the bells actually ring. Today I heard them begin at 5:11, and they are almost always so far from any quarter hour. Is there any explanation for this?