By Meghan Maloney
Blessed by the support of many friends, most notably, North End restaurant owners Filippo and Ana Frattaroli, St. Stephen’s Church on Hanover Street was the grateful recipient of funds raised at a special dinner held recently at Lucia Ristorante, with all proceeds going towards the church’s Bell Tower project. The dinner, held on May 21, was designed to allow supporters of the project to gather in an intimate setting at the renowned Italian restaurant, located directly next to the church, and enjoy a delicious five-course meal, all the while enjoying fellowship with many familiar faces.
The money raised from the evening will go toward the restoration of St. Stephen’s bell tower, designed by famed architect, Charles Bulfinch. The project to both restore the structure of the tower, and with additional funds, secure and stabilize the bell within, has been a daunting one for Fr. David Costello, rector of St. Stephen’s. The fact that the church is a “religious” building, hinders funding from many historical preservation foundations. And with much of St. Stephen’s congregation made up of visiting tourists rather than a consistent, large group of parishioners, weekly donations tend to amount to less than those of other area churches. Therefore, Father Costello started seeking creative ways to raise funds in order to avoid having to spend most of the church’s savings on this costly repair.
Thanks to Filippo and Ana Frattaroli and the many who came out to enjoy a delicious meal of beautifully prepared delicacies of the sea, tender pasta, rich deserts, and an assortment of sweet and dry wines, a substantial amount of money was raised to help with the bell tower expenses. Bishop Robert Hennessey attended and was kind enough to impart the blessing at the beginning of the meal, while many locals of the North End appeared to enjoy the food, the fellowship, and the festive evening. “I am grateful to all the neighbors, friends, and supporters of the project, including State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, who joined us for an evening of culinary delight, all in support of the restoration of a building steeped in history and one that has been part of the fabric of the North End for so very long,” said Costello.
Work on the bell tower is slated to begin the first week of June.