Thursday, March 20, 2003

Restored bells ringing again

Dedication held at College of Mount St. Joseph

By Anna Guido
Enquirer contributor

[photo] Three bronze bells, one of which is seen during its installation at the Mater Dei Chapel at the College of Mount St. Joseph, were dedicated Wednesday and will ring daily.
(Don Denny photo)
| ZOOM |
DELHI TOWNSHIP - Restored chapel bells at the College of Mount St. Joseph rang Wednesday morning for the first time in 20 years, a sweet sound in melodic contrast to the noon warning sirens that followed, reminding Cincinnatians of a possible war with Iraq.

Rededication of the three bronze bells was held in conjunction with the feast day of St. Joseph, patron saint of the Catholic liberal arts college of 2,100 students.

"These bells unfortunately were silenced by the wear and tear of the elements, but they ring again today because of the generosity of Father Angelo della Picca and the Sisters of Charity Ministry Foundation," President Sister Francis Marie Thrailkill said.

Donations from della Picca and the foundation helped fund the $30,000 restoration, performed by the company that cast the bells more than 40 years ago, the Verdin Co. in the East End.

The bells weigh 3,493 pounds and hang in Corona Tower at Mater Dei Chapel on the 75-acre campus.

At the rededication Mass, della Picca - a professor emeritus at the college and a composer of liturgical music - walked from inside the chapel to Corona Tower outside and blessed the bells.

"Bells have a special place in the life of God's people," della Picca said. "The peal of bells marks the hours for prayer and calls us to the celebration of the liturgy. Bells alert us to important events, both happy and sad, in the life of the church and the community."

He raised his hands in prayer, then returned to the chapel. As the Mass ended, the bells were sounded and all in attendance stepped outside.

The bells will now ring daily, on the hour, but at different sound levels (softer in the morning and after 6 p.m.), said spokeswoman Linda Liebau.

Unlike in the past, they will not be rung manually, but will operate from a digital system that can be programmed, Liebau said.

"It's nice to have them back again - it's a symbol of the Mount community," said student government President Jenni Braun of Delhi Township.


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