Bells for the Pope

The media is all abuzz about the Pope’s visit to Washington D.C., New York, and Philadelphia. No one has covered the bells in the churches he’s visited, though, so I’ll share what I know!

On September 23rd, Pope Francis gave a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Here we have a 56-bell carillon cast by the Paccard foundry in 1963. Below you can hear four of the low bells in a peal. Love those rich Paccard bells!

I haven’t found information that the bells actually *rang* during the Pope’s visit, but surely they did, right? Anyone have a video of the bells playing for his visit?

On September 24th, the Pope gave a Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. Another set of Paccard bells, although significantly older–1897–and a smaller set (19 bells). The bells have been played through electric means since 1952. You can hear the bells ringing as a peal below.

Again, not sure if the bells were played for the papal visit. Anyone out there got information on this?

And tomorrow, September 26th, the Pope will officiate the Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. Alas, I cannot find any information on bells at the Basilica! I don’t see a bell tower on the building, so I think they just don’t exist.

The bells don’t end there–check out this CD cover for the music of Pope Francis’ US visit.

music for Pope's US visit
music for Pope’s US visit

“Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom” was a hymn composed especially for the Catholic Congress in Philadelphia that the Pope will attend this weekend. The symbolism of the bell lives on.

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