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abbey bells not altered
Norbertine bells at Daylesford Abbey, Paoli, Pennsylvania.

Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom is the hymn created for the World Meeting of Families (WWM2015) in Philadelphia this September.

Hymn lyrics were penned by Norbertine canon regular Andrew D. Ciferni, O.Praem., and music composition by Normand Gouin, the former music director at Daylesford Abbey. The Norbertines praise God in psalms, hymns and chants in their daily Mass, morning and noon prayers and vespers. Sacred sounds of word and tone have resonated in the Norbertine culture for centuries.

Liberty Bell in Philadelphia PA (1751)

Biblical verse on the Liberty Bell, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof” (Leviticus 25:10).

Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom

I. The first verse of the hymn is an invitation to prayer.

Sound the bell of holy freedom; call all nations of the earth.
Sons and daughters of one Father, sent to spread God’s saving Word.
Come, and gather, as one fam’ly at the table of the Lord.

Saint John Paul II hands of prayer. (From upcoming Franklin Institute exhibit Vatican Splendors.)

II. The second verse is about the family history of Jesus from David.

David branch from root of Jesse, Mary that vine’s flow’ring rose.
She brought forth for us the Savior as the angel did propose;
Overshadowed by the Spirit, by her “yes” new life arose.

Holy Family with two Angels, Bologna Italy, 16th century.

This painting and the bronze cast of Saint John Paul II hands are from the upcoming Franklin Institute exhibit Vatican Splendors on display September 2015 to February 2016, direct from the Vatican.

III. The third verse is about St. Joseph and Mary.

Blessed Joseph, spouse of Mary, teacher of your God and Lord,
You did shelter and provide for wondrous child by kings adored.
Open to God’s Word in dreaming saved your child from Herod’s sword.

wmf2015 painting
Holy Family icon for WMF2015 by Neilson Carlin of Kennett Square, PA

IV. The fourth verse is about Jesus’ youth in Nazareth and the wedding at Cana.

Jesus, youth in low’ly Naz’reth, faithful son, and loving child,
Guest and host at Cana’s wedding, finest wine you did provide.
You, our rock and you our shelter, keep us ever by your side.

wedding at cana icon
The Wedding at Cana.

V. The fifth verse is about Mary’s sorrow at the cross and all mothers sorrow shared.

At the cross a grieving mother, on the cross, her only son,
With all mothers and their children, Blessed Mary, you are one.
In our joys, and in our sorrows may we do as you have done.

Our Lady of Sorrows.

VI. Closing verse

Sound the bell of holy freedom; call all fam’lies of the world
To be fed by love incarnate; to proclaim God’s holy Word;
Through the love of Christ our brother, in the Spirit make us one.

Eucharist stained glass window behind altarIn the line, “To be fed by love incarnate”, the hymn references the Eucharist.
Photo: Old St. Joseph’s Church, Philadelphia PA.

Hymn credits:
Text: Andrew D. Ciferni, O.Praem.,  St. Norbert College; Daylesford Abbey
Tune: PHILADELPHIA, 8 7 8 7 8 7:Normand Gouin; College of Holy Cross

Pope Francis twitter detailPope Francis will makes his first Papal visit to the USA for the WMF2015.

The Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom hymn will be heard throughout the Pope’s visit in Philadelphia. As St. Augustine said, “They who sing, pray twice.”

Pope Francis Visit 2015 to the USA:

September 23/23, 2015 – Pope Francis Visits Washington. Canonization Mass at Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception / White House meeting / Senate speech

September 25, 2015 – Pope Francis Visits New York. United Nations/ St. Patrick’s Cathedral /Ground Zero

September 26, 2015 – Pope Francis Visits Philadelphia. Children’s Hospital / Youth Prison/Festival of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway /Prayer Vigil for World Meeting of Families

September 26, 2015 – World Meeting of Families

World Meeting of Families

Influencer: Mary, Undoer of Knots
. This is the baroque painting by Johann Schmidtner from 1700, housed at St. Peter am Perlach, in Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany.

Mary, Undoer of Knots is Pope Francis’s favorite Marian devotion.

St. Irenaeus said,

Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it.

gianna center
Influencer: St. Gianna Molla
(Oct 14, 1922, – April 28, 1962). Eating lunch with her children in Magenta, Italy.

St. Gianna Molla is Patron Saint of WMF2015. St. Gianna once said:

Let us love the Cross and let us remember that we are not alone in carrying it. God is helping us. And in God who is comforting us, as St. Paul says, we can do anything.

Influencer: Saint John Paul II, also a Patron Saint for WMF2015.

Per Saint John Paul II :

As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”
“Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial.

Saint John Paul II at The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Philadelphia Pennsylvania.

St. John Paul II was the last pope to visit Philadelphia in 1979.

Holy Spirit in blue
“… in the Spirit make us one.” Quote from closing line of the WMF2015 hymn, Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom.