Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sound the Bell

“Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom”: Hymn for the World Meeting of Families
by Kathy Schiffer

Fr. Andrew Ciferni
On Sunday, November 30,worshippers at a Mass at Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul heard for the first time the hymn that will be played at Pope Francis’ Mass during next year’s World Meeting of Families.

“Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom” was co-written by Norbertine Father Andrew Ciferni and Normand Gouin and was selected from 20 entries which were submitted by invitation only. The hymn opens with an allusion to Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell, and traces the life of Jesus’ family.

Father Ciferni, who wrote the text for the official hymn, heads the Center for Norbertine Studies at St. Norbert College in De Pere. A nationally known liturgist, Father Ciferni has taught at The Catholic University of America and Washington Theological Union. He has translated hymns from the original Latin; but this is his first attempt at writing a hymn. “What I hope that they hear,” Father Ciferni told ABC affiliate WBAY, “is the sense of God working through families. That families are a very special place where God is present.”

Normand Gouin, who composed the musical score,currently serves as Director of Music for Old St. Joseph’s National Shrine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Normand Gouin
Mr. Gouin has worked full-time in pastoral ministry for the past 17 years. He has served as both Liturgy and Music director in a variety of church settings including St. John’s Student Parish in East Lansing, Michigan the community that serves the Catholic student population of Michigan State University.

As a composer, Gouin has been commissioned to write works for both churches and religious communities throughout the country and most recently has worked as the lead composer and editor for the Liturgy of the Hours project, a joint effort between St. Norbert’s Abbey in DePere, Wisconsin and Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, Pennsylvania. He has works published by MorningStar Music Publishers and GIA publications and has been a contributing writer for the GIA Quarterly. Mr. Gouin has served on several Diocesan Liturgical Commissions and locally has worked as a consultant with the Philadelphia Liturgical Institute. He holds degrees in music and liturgical studies from The Catholic University of America and the University of Notre Dame.

Here for your listening pleasure, “Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom.”