PARIS: Notre Dame gets new bells for her 850th birthday – video

We Catholics love our bells.  Bells are, traditionally, not just blessed but “baptized”.  They are given names as well.

From The History Blog:

Notre Dame gets new bells for her 850th birthday

Notre Dame de Paris, the Gothic cathedral that is one of the most famous churches in the world, turns 850 years old this year and has gotten a new set of nine bells for a birthday present. The new bells range in size from 767 kilos (1691 lbs) to 1.91 tons. They were blessed in a ceremony at the cathedral on February 2nd (see this YouTube for the full ceremony; the top comment lists the times they were rung), but since they were lined up in the nave, their rings were only heard individually when their clappers were struck against the sides by hand. On Palm Sunday, the new bells rang together with the one surviving old one in all their glory for the first time.

Despite its glamour and celebrity, Notre Dame has been saddled with inferior bells since the French Revolution took down the cathedral’s 20 bells in 1791 and 1792, melted 19 of them down to make cannon. Only one survived the Terror: Emmanuel, the great 13-ton bourdon (the lowest and largest of the bells) in the South Tower. It was first installed in 1685 and its rich deep notes marked the hours of the day and the great events of French history like the coronation of kings and, since Napoleon had it rehung in 1802, the liberation of Paris on August 24th, 1944.

Read the rest there.

A link to the site of Notre-Dame de Paris.

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  1. jasoncpetty says:

    Excellent! Now, let those Parisians who have ears hear….

    …and, you know, go to Church once in a while.

  2. Allan S. says:

    Apparently, during the French Revolution, Notre Dame was de-commissioned (not sure of the correct terminology here for converted to lay use) and re-named the Cathedral to Reason or some such thing. It was an “Athiest Church”.

    Not sure, but hopefully when the Church got it back it re-blessed (again, not sure of the term) the entire thing.

  3. ocalatrad says:

    Notre-Dame de Paris is spectacular but my personal preference is the even more massive Cathedral of Amiens. That said, hearing the bells resounding throughout Paris is truly moving. I pray for the day that Andre Cardinal Vingt-Trois permanently reinstates the Mass of All Time in his cathedral and reconverts the seat of the eldest daughter of the Church. He took a good first step at St.-Germain-l’Auxerrois a couple of years ago.

  4. albizzi says:

    There are only 2 factories in France still able to cast such large brass bells.
    The new bells of Notre-Dame were cast at Villedieu-les-Poeles, a small village in Normandy near Coutances. Building the mold and casting the liquid brass in it are only a part of the work. Grinding and turning the raw molded piece in order to tune the bell at the selected sound frequency and give it its best look are much longer, needing skilled people.
    The largest solid objects ever cast in bronze are statues and oil tankers propellers, the heaviest ones averaging 25 to 30 tons.

  5. mamajen says:

    Oh, how I would love to get back to Paris again. I was there 11 years ago. Notre Dame was certainly very impressive, but my absolute favorite was Sainte-Chapelle–small, but breathtaking! I also loved Sacre Coeur.

  6. John Fannon says:

    It’s nice to see that one of the bells has been christened Benoit-Joseph after our beloved Pope Emeritus.

  7. acp39 says:

    I was just in Paris this last weekend and attended the Palm Sunday Tridentine Mass at St.-Germain-l’Auxerrois. It was completely packed, standing room only, although many of the attendees were in Paris for the pro-marriage rally (that dwarfed in size anything that has taken place in the U.S.).

    I am happy to report that the majority of the attendees at the Tridentine mass was composed of young families and twenty-somethings. The strictest traditionalists might not have been happy with the cross-pollination in the Tridentine mass (vernacular epistle and Gospel (or Passion, in this case), and the prayers of the priest were audible) but this is exactly what Pope Emeritus Benedict envisioned with Summorum Pontificum and it is yielding fruit in France.

    Don’t write-off the Eldest Daughter of the Church just yet! The mustard seed of Catholics in France has withstood two centuries of persecution–they are a resilient bunch.

  8. tzard says:

    Wow, look at all the people!

  9. Matthew K says:

    “The bells! The BELLS!”

  10. Therese says:

    The first video takes a while to get going, but the music of the bells is nothing less than gorgeous, and the man-on-the-street interviews are excellent, even for this non-French speaker. (The second video is ample testament to why Notre Dame needed new bells in the first place!) Thanks, Father, for an evening’s entertainment worth watching.

  11. disco says:

    At our little parish church outside Boston our bells have begun to ring again after some repairs. Leaks in the bell tower roof made the electrical system that caused them to toll a fire hazard, but thankfully they rang true on Palm Sunday and will continue to do so until silenced on Thursday. And God-willing for many years to come.

    Our church is one eighth the age of Notre Dame and I would not presume to boast that it is even one eighth as grand, but we do share in the joy of having our Church’s voice returned to it in time for the feast of feasts.

  12. Laura98 says:

    Notre Dame in Paris is beautiful… and I’m very happy to hear they have new bells! Perhaps some new life will come into the Church there? :)

    However my favorite Cathedral in France is the Cathedral of Rheims – where St. Joan of Arc made sure Charles VII had his coronation. Although much of the Cathedral has been restored because of the damage inflicted on it during WWI, it is still beautiful.

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