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Notre Dame will peal out with freshly cast bell

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 17th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The largest of nine new bells being rebuilt and recast for Notre Dame's 850th anniversary is underway in Holland. Called "Marie," the new bill will replace one that had been taken down and melted during the French revolution.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Weighing six tons, Marie will chime next to 330-year-old Emmanuel in the cathedral's south tower. Marie will replace the bell of the same name that was melted down.

Marie will be cast in a blend of copper and tin using a centuries-old formula at Holland's Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry in the southern town of Asten.

In the tumultuous 1790s, insurgents took over the cathedral and removed all of its bells except the largest one, called Emmanuel. The looted bells are believed to have been melted down to make cannon balls.

Emmanuel is a 330-year-old, 13-ton creation that managed to survive the attacks of the revolutionaries.

Emmanuel has been tolled to mark the end of the First and Second Wars, the liberation of the city in 1944, and major state occasions, in addition to ringing in the hour. Emmanuel was also rung on September 11, 2001 after the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York.

Once looted by revolutionaries, Notre Dame is a favorite tourist destination. 

The foundry is working with the Technical University of Eindhoven to create computer software that would allow the foundry to design a bell with a distinctive, clear ring.

The idea is to make music from the cathedral sound as it did before the French Revolution. Musical experts have found manuscripts indicating what note the original bell would have produced.

The eight other bells have also been commissioned for the 850th anniversary of the cathedral. Following the French revolution, the north tower's bells were replaced in 1856. They're set to be replaced again with bells made of better quality metal that will produce a clearer sound.

Some of the bells were taken out of use when it was discovered that ringing them caused the building to shake, threatening its structural integrity.

The new bells will be inaugurated in February 2013 and will sound on Palm Sunday, one month later.

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