Niagara Gazette — There were several periods of renovation over time at St. Mary’s. From a stable to a sacristy and the incorporation of Father Stephen’s tomb in the present sanctuary in 1863 is just the tip of the iceberg. You will recall he was originally buried behind the church. The tomb was placed in the center aisle and partially under the railing of the sanctuary. A plaque at this spot depicts his work on the enlargement of the church.
Last but not least this week, I found some information on the “bells of St. Mary’s,” not the movie or the song but the first bell in the church spires. In 1875, two years after the completion of the spires, the parishioners gathered and formed “the Bell Association.” A prominent businessman who became a New York Assemblyman and the first superintendent of the State Reservation at Niagara, Thomas Vincent Welch, became the secretary of the group and along with other prominent church members of the time, raised sufficient funds to place an order from a foundry in Troy. I found some contradictions in these dates as some research indicated the year was 1873. Three more bells were added during the 2003 renovation.
St. Mary of the Cataract Church grew through many renovations and like Holy Trinity, added buildings to its complex which we will learn about next week.
Norma Higgs serves with the Niagara Beautification Commission and Niagara Falls Block Club Council.Norma Higgs serves with the Niagara Beautification Commission and Niagara Falls Block Club Council.