‘Buy us out. Otherwise, shut the hell up’: Priest responds to neighbors complaining over church bells

Woman says her neighbor’s backyard church bells are too loud

SAN ANTONIO – Patricia Verduzco says she’s lived peacefully in her home for 30 years, but the last two months have been a nightmare.

“My stomach hurts. It makes me angry that I have to live here. This is my sanctuary, and it’s just unacceptable. I really wish something would be done,” she said.

The culprit, she says, is the sound of church bells coming from a speaker system two houses over. She says the speaker system was installed in her neighbor’s backyard in February.

“What I’ve been going through is him playing the speaker Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Three times a day, Monday through Friday, and five times a day, Saturday and Sunday,” said Verduzco. “The problem I have with him is that this sound is coming directly into my home, and it’s waking me up every single day.”

The speakers face directly toward Patricia’s home. She said her neighbor’s home has slowly transformed into what appears to be a Catholic church over the years.

The Archdiocese of San Antonio said it is not affiliated with the Infant Jesus of Prague Roman Catholic Church and Shrine.

“That facility is not a Roman Catholic entity, and it is not recognized by the Archdiocese of San Antonio,” said the Archdiocese of San Antonio in a statement.

The church owner says they are affiliated with a church from Brazil.

“We are a church from Brazil, and Pope John Paul II sanctioned churches to be built within the United States from Brazil,” said Father John Gabriel with Infant Jesus of Prague Roman Catholic Church and Shrine.

According to the City of San Antonio, a church is allowed in residential areas and is subject to each district’s development standards.

“They cannot control what we do. No one can. The government can’t. The city can’t. No one can. We are a valid church. We are tax exempt, federal and city and county and state,” said Gabriel.

But for Verduzco, the problem isn’t religion. She’s asking the volume on the speaker to be turned down.

“You see, it’s a church, and you respect that, you know, so you don’t do anything about it, but with this speaker, it’s just a little a little too much for me,” said Verduzco.

The church leader says neighbors have two options.

“Don’t like the noise? Buy us out. Otherwise, shut the hell up,” said Gabriel.

San Antonio police officers were seen measuring sound pressure levels from the church bells. The department said it conducted two tests and found no noise ordinance violations. SAPD said it would conduct future noise tests.

About the Author

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

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