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Plan calls for bells to ring at St. Catherine of Sweden in Hampton

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Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Mother's Day, May 12, is the tentative dedication day for a new, 43-foot tower with three restored antique bells at St. Catherine of Sweden Church, Hampton.

A 7-foot cross will top the free-standing tower, slated for fabrication and installation in April by the Verdin Company of Cincinnati.

Plans call for the tower to incorporate a trio of bells that previously chimed at now-closed Catholic churches.

Will the bells play songs?

Hampton Council President Victor Son posed that question at the council's Feb. 13 meeting, which included a discussion of the proposed bell tower.

“We don't want to be playing ‘When the Saints Come Marching In.' We just want to ring bells,” replied the Rev. Steven Neff, pastor of St. Catherine of Sweden Church.

“The bells will not swing. There will be a hammer inside each bell,” Neff said. “It will all be computerized. Most of the sound will go down into the ground.”

Hampton Township's planning commission and environmental advisory council have recommended approval of the bell tower, according to Marty Orban, the township's land use administrator.

But plans for the bell tower still need approval from the township's zoning hearing board.

The zoning hearing board is due to issue a decision on Feb. 26 on a request from St. Catherine of Sweden Church for a variance from Hampton Township's 20-foot limit on the height of accessory, stand-alone structures, such as the bell tower.

“It's a great joy for the parish to look forward to construction of the bell tower,” Neff said at the Feb. 13 meeting of Hampton Council.

The Verdin Company will build the tower and install its restored, antique bells before the tower arrives by truck in Hampton.

“They'll just erect that tower in one piece,” Neff said. “The bells will be able to work in an hour.”

The parish plans to eventually ring the bells for 30 seconds before weekday and weekend Masses, and twice daily for 82 seconds — at noon and 6 p.m. — to announce the Angelus.

The Angelus, a Christian devotion, recalls the angel Gabriel's message to the Blessed Mother that she would conceive and give birth to God's son.

“The bells might ring four to five minutes total on a given Sunday,” Neff said.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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