Campus Ministry: Bell Tower Plaza
The University of Portland, as a Catholic institution in the tradition of Holy Cross, remains grounded in its mission to educate minds and hearts and to cultivate among its students the desire to know, love and serve God. Attending to the divine in worship, study and service are some of the ways the University accomplishes this mission, but also important is attending to sacred spaces on campus. Next to the Chapel of Christ the Teacher, the main worship space on campus, stands the bell tower within a garden dedicated to Mary. Together, this plaza represents the most explicitly sacred space on campus.
“With the bell tower and the Marian garden on this space, this is a spot where heaven itself seems to touch earth. This has become a window to the kingdom of God and a reminder to all of us of the central role that the sacred plays in our community life,” said Father E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C., President of the University, at the dedication of the plaza. “It reminds us that life is far more than we ever dreamed, far more than the pursuits of our day.”
This plaza rests at the busiest crossroads on campus, where residence halls, classrooms and labs, student activity spaces, the dining commons, and the chapel all intersect. The bell tower is the highest point and most visible element of campus—it stands at 106 feet tall and is visible from points in downtown Portland. Fourteen bells ring across campus throughout the day. The grounds surrounding the tower contains a Marian garden, full of plants and flowers and invitations to prayer. The Christian tradition has long valued the ringing of bells and the beauty of gardens as sensory appeals to beauty, which help us perceive God’s goodness manifested in creation.
The iconic bell tower and Marian prayer garden make up the two primary components of the bell tower plaza. The tower and garden were dedicated in a joint ceremony by Archbishop John Vlazny on September 18, 2009. Please explore the links below to learn more as well as what these symbols communicate to us about our lives of faith:
Bell Tower (gift of Mr. and Mrs. D. Alan Lund)
Marian Garden (gift of the Galati Family)