15 Jul 2018

For whom does the bell toll?

It's morning when I go to sleep
In the distant dawn a church bell rings
Another day is coming on
A baby's born, an old man dies
Somewhere young lovers kiss good-bye
I leave my soul and just move on
And wish that I was there to sing this song
 - Jon Bon Jovi

Glenstal rings bells for feast day of St Benedict
July 11th 2018

The Benedictines at Glenstal Abbey celebrated the feast of Saint Benedict with the ringing of new bells.

“Thanks to a generous gift, we are installing a set of four brand-new bells this week,” stated the monks as they issued an open invitation for the public to attend the celebration.

The set of four bells has been manufactured by the Jan Felczyński Bell Foundry in Przemyśl, Poland. The bells have been cast in bronze and, following tradition, each one has been named:Benedict, Scholastica, Joseph and Columba. The obverse side of each bell is adorned with an image of the saint whose name it bears. In the cases of Saints Benedict, Joseph and Columba,the images are based on the carvings of the saints in the abbey church. A short phrase connected with the saint or with the bell’s function of calling the people of God to worship is placed beneath the image. These phrases come from the Rule, the Psalter, the Missal and the Antiphonale. The inscriptions are in Latin, apart fromthat for Saint Columba, which is in Irish. The reverse side of each bell is adorned with the abbey coat of arms, the title of the abbey and the year.

They were hoisted into position on the library on July 11th (feast of St Benedict), from where they rang out to call the monks and all others who heard them “to give honour and glory to God in the sacred liturgy,” the monks stated.

Fr Brendan Coffey, the sixth and current Abbot of Glenstal, spoke during the Mass, stating that bells have the important task of calling people to pray. “But bells do more than just summon, they ring out a particular message, and for us that message is summed up in the life of [St] Benedict of Nursia,” he said.

“As we face the challenges and difficulties of living in the 21st century, our temptation today is to rely more than ever on power – something which is conspicuously absent from Benedict’s list. Our leaders tend to be powerful people with big personalities. We can see it around the world today,” he said.

He highlighted how all over the world people spend huge sums of money to keep “safe” and “to keep the stranger out”. But this goes against the second beatitude: “Blessed are the gentle”.

He explained that that this is a world view built on fear, and which is not a very happy place in which to live.

“Benedict’s world is built on hospitality, the search for God and mutual well being and in the end it is a much safer place to live,” he said. “Change begins with me. This is the Christian message which rings out from a Benedictine monastery, the call which summons the Christian people everywhere to pray, the clear pure resounding chime of peace.”

The details of the new bells of Glenstal:

Weight:290 kg
Diameter: 78 cm
Pitch: C
Inscription- Mens concodet voci (That the mind may be in harmony with the voice)
From the Rule of Benedict, ch. 19 –‘On the Manner of Saying the Divine Office’.

Weight:150 kg
Diameter: 61 cm
Pitch: E
Inscription - Magnificare praeconiis (To give you fitting praise)
From the Roman Missal, Preface for the Solemnity of Saint Joseph.

Weight:90 kg
Diameter: 51 cm
Pitch: G
Inscription - Téanaigí,a chlann ó agus éistigí liom (Come, children, listen to me)
From Ps 33 [34]:12. (In ch. 23 of bk 3 of the Life of Saint Columba, Saint Adomnán records that these were the last words written by Saint Columba before he died. The verse is also quoted in the Prologue of the Rule of Benedict.)

Weight:70 kg
Diameter: 46cm
Pitch: A
Inscription- O potensvistus amoris (Oh, the power of the power of love!)
From Antiphonale Monasticum,Vespers Hymn for the Feast of Saint Scholastica, Te beata sponsa Christi. (The line refers to the account in ch.33 of bk 2 of the Dialogues of St Gregory the Great, when, three days before her death, in response to Saint Scholastica’s prayer, a sudden storm prevented her brother, Saint Benedict from returning to his monastery after their annual meeting. At the end of the story, Gregory comments, ‘She was more powerful who loved more).

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