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In today’s bulletin, Father Hilton writes:

MY SINCERE THANKS TO ALL WHO MADE LAST WEEKEND’S CELEBRATION SO SPECIAL!

The celebration for the opening of our new church last weekend was an event that I will never forget. The smiles on your faces, the sound of our voices ringing out in song and the wonder in the eyes of the children made all the hard work worthwhile. And it was hard work! Three days before opening, the marble workers were still installing the altar, the church was completely covered in marble dust and none of the statues had been set into place. On Wednesday, John and Marcia Sand brought in a crew and all of them worked like crazy to clean the church. I am so grateful to them! I am grateful to Diana Thurber and all who assisted her in preparing and serving the wonderful receptions in the Fr. Puhl Center; the food was delicious and the decorations beautiful. Thank you. I extend my thanks to Jackie Bell, Sarah Haywood and their choirs for the splendid music during the Holy Masses.

It is absolutely necessary that I close by giving thanks to the wonderful staff that serves us at Holy Trinity. They have worked far beyond the call of duty and their countless hours spent in preparing for our church opening have been a remarkable labor of love. I am particularly grateful to Denise Walton, our Business Manager, and Mark Von Tilius and Jay Martinez, our heads of the maintenance staff – without their dedication to this parish, the new church would never have been ready on time or have turned out as well as it did. Thank You!

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In last Sunday’s bulletin, Nicoletta shared some thoughts about bells and bell towers:

Campanilismo (a/k/a Parochialism)

By: Nicoletta MacKenzie

Actually, the translation of campanilismo into parochialism is not a good one. The literal translation would be closer to “bell-tower-ism,” since a campanile is in fact a bell tower.

How did the usage of the word start? It started when, in the mid 500s, Italians began to build towers with bells, both for church and for public use. In the beginning, it was supposed to be the highest building in the village, town or city, and the bells had a very practical use. For instance: church bells were rung at very specific times or events and according to specific sounds. They would notify all within hearing distance that Mass was about to start, or the beginning of a novena, a triduum or the 40-hour Eucharistic Adoration. Every noon the bells told us that it was time to pray the Angelus (noon), and at 3:00 pm every Friday they’d toll Jesus’ death. Festive bell peals announced weddings, the local parish feast day, solemnities and processions and the election of a new Pope. Slow tolls notified of deaths and funerals.

Church bells also warned of danger and disasters, such as a fire, war and of pirate incursions, in the dark days when they prowled, pillaged and burned all around the coasts of Italy.

Bells on civic towers tolled national holidays, school times, marked the hours (down to the quarter hour) and also served as a warning mechanism.

You can see how important bells were in everyday life, and they were set on the tallest building so that their sound would reach as far as possible.

That’s why Italians became attached to their bell towers, their campanili. Soon there arose a spirit of competition in the breasts of citizens of neighboring villages, towns and even cities. After all, if it was to be the most visible representative of a community, the bell tower had to be beautiful; it had to be recognized from a distance; and it had to be unusual. A town with a “run of the mill” campanile reflected poorly on its inhabitants. And so the larger towns, who could count on the financial support of more people, started to hire architects to design the building that would represent them to anyone who came within sight.

Some of these towers are so famous that just about everyone in the world has heard of them.

For instance, who has not heard of The Leaning Tower of Pisa? Yes maam, it’s the bell tower of the Duomo (or principal church) of Pisa. Its striking structure has no rival anywhere in the world. It took “only” 177 years to complete and although the good Pisani certainly did not intend for their masterpiece to start sinking into the ground, they undoubtedly got their money’s worth! Here you can clearly see the Duomo, which is almost dwarfed by its magnificent and yes, leaning, tower.

Closer to the town from where my family hails, there is a less well known but equally distinctive bell tower: the Campanile di Ossuccio. Its delicate, slender and tall form is also unmistakable. This one stands guard over the church of St. Mary Magdalene. The characteristic top was added in the late 1400s, while the original “stem” goes back to the 1100s.

And who has not heard of the bell tower of Notre Dame? Or at least, of its bell-ringer? Now I’m going to dare to say that my campanile has that squat structure in Paris beat all hollow. And you can call me campanilista if you wish.

And now our Holy Trinity church also has a bell tower, with a full contingent of bells. I venture to say that it’s the most handsome in all Westminster, and while it may not rival in beauty with the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the slender marvel in Ossuccio, when it’s lit up at night it brings a lump to the throat. Its tall grace proclaims to our part of the city that we love God and put our trust in Him.

I can hardly wait to hear the sound of “our” bells calling us, and anyone else who wishes to join us. In fact, a bell tower with its ringing bells is eminently Catholic and exemplifies what the writer James Joyce said: “Catholic means: here comes everybody.” Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

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In today’s bulletin, Father Hilton writes:

Does it seem like a long time since we started the renovation of our church? I know that many of us, from the Design Committee to the Finance Council, from our Architect to our dedicated staff, and all those who were involved in the planning and executing this project put forth the best of our efforts and energies. All of us were determined to use our gifts of generosity for the greatest honor of God and to provide future generations of parishioners with a beautiful place in which to worship. We hope that, when you walk into your new church, you will feel that we have achieved our goal, because during all the planning and executing stages we had you, as well as our Lord, in mind.

Traditionally, our Catholic churches have been designed as places of peaceful beauty for two reasons: First, because we instinctively know that God is the Creator of all that is beautiful and, as King David so many centuries ago, we want to honor Him by making for Him a home that is worthy of Him. Second: because when we gather in a beautiful place our minds turn more easily towards God, who is Beauty Himself. Many of our adorers, for instance, tell me that they find rest and gather strength every time they visit the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel: that was our goal, and it has been our goal as we planned, designed and transformed the church. I encourage you to look around, observe all the details, and tell me whether you agree that we have achieved our goal.

You will also notice that we have tried to make the space as comfortable as possible for you: the pews are a little farther apart, so those with long legs will not “bump” in the kneeler behind them. If you pardon me for saying it, I think that the Choir loft not only is beautiful, but it does more justice to the voices of our choir members. How about our confessionals? They are elegant, but more importantly, they will give greater privacy to everyone and the sound-proof wall coverings will make sure that no whisper can be heard outside. We gave special attention to our Marian Chapel, where our beautifully restored statue of the Blessed Virgin finds her home. The raised ceiling, the “clerestory,” with high windows give us more light and greater height. The best part, of course, is our Sanctuary, our new altar area. It is difficult to be distracted during Mass when our eyes are attracted to the exquisite work that required the greatest amount of thought and skill in execution.

Of course, the fact that we now have air conditioning for the Summer will make everyone more comfortable.

I pray that you are thrilled with how our renovated church has turned out. More importantly, I pray that our new church will be a rich source of blessing for you, your children and grandchildren. I again thank you for your generosity and sacrifice, which made all this possible, and I know that those parishioners who will come to the Holy Mass in the future will thank you, just as we thank those who fifty years ago first built the Parish of Holy Trinity that we love. God’s blessings upon you and your family!

Fr. John Hilton and Fr. Carlos Bello

Editor’s note: Click the embedded links for more about Holy Trinity Parish in Westminster and this remodeling project. Thank you to Allan Eckert, Dave Koski and Nancy Thompson for the images.

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In today’s bulletin, Father Hilton writes:

Only Seven Weeks until the Masses of Thanksgiving in our Newly Renovated Church on May 15 & 16!

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In today’s bulletin, Father Hilton writes:

TWO VOLUNTEER POSITIONS NEEDED!

When we open our beautifully renovated church in May, there are two important volunteer positions that will need to be filled in order to help make our Sunday Masses run smoothly.

The two positions are:

Coordinator of Bell Ringers

When the new church is opened, our new bells will joyfully ring out for five minutes before every Saturday evening and Sunday Mass! The glad sound of the bells will call us to the Holy Mass and to prayer with adoration of our God. Two parishioners will be needed at each Mass to perform this ministry of bell ringing. It will be the job of the new Coordinator to sign-up bell ringers, train them and make up a monthly schedule. This volunteer position is perfect for someone who loves the Mass, likes working with people and is well organized. If you’re interested, call Fr. Hilton and he will give you all the details.

Coordinator of Sound Engineers

Our newly renovated church will have a sound engineer’s booth in the choir loft, which will allow us to constantly adjust sound levels and music mixing during the Holy Mass. This will result in a dramatic increase in the quality of sound of our music during Mass and help everyone present to hear clearly the priest and lectors. The sound booth will require a trained sound engineer to be present for each of the Masses of Saturday evening and Sunday. It will be the job of our new Coordinator of Sound Engineers to recruit and train sound engineers for each of the weekend Masses and to make up a monthly schedule. This volunteer position is perfect for someone who knows and loves sound equipment, likes working with people and is well organized. If you’re interested, please call Fr. Hilton.

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Church Open House

In today’s bulletin, Father Hilton writes:

We are now at the half-way point in the renovation of our beloved church and in five months we will be able to dedicate our beautiful House of God! The time is flying by and before we know it, we will again be offering the Holy Mass in our noble new church.

It is important that you have the opportunity to see how our church is going to look when complete. To help you to do this, our architect, Adam Hermanson, has prepared a series of display boards that have exterior and interior views of the church, the altar area and choir loft. Drawings of the Altar, Tabernacle area, Baptismal Font and Ambo will also be included along with samples of the marbles, tile, wood and paint colors that will be used throughout the church.

This impressive display is in the entrance to the Fr. Puhl Center and I invite you to spend some time studying the presentation. Please pay special attention to the marble Altar, Tabernacle area and Baptismal Font that will be carved in Italy and will be especially beautiful. I am looking for families to help sponsor the cost of these special sacred objects. They are quite expensive, but if ten families take it into their hearts to sponsor each piece as a gift to the parish, then many hands will make them affordable. Talk to Fr. Hilton if you would like more information.

Next weekend, October 31-November 1, we will have our long-awaited church open house. You will have an opportunity to walk into the church and see the progress that has been made so far and get a better idea of how the church will look when complete. We will have the open house after all of the Masses next weekend

Thank you to our many parishioners whose generosity has made all of this possible, God Bless You!

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In today’s bulletin, Father Hilton writes:

Our two bells have arrived and this weekend, after the 9:00 am Sunday Mass, we will bless them. During the coming week, they will be installed in our new bell tower, ready to ring out in joy on the day that our church is dedicated! Next weekend, October 23-24, we will hold an “open house” where you will have the opportunity to go into the church and see for yourself all the progress that the construct crews have made. Come and be amazed!

The names for our new bells are: Maria Gaudens and Little Saint John. The Latin name for the big bell, Maria Gaudens, is inspired by the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) and means “Mary Rejoicing.” At the message of the Archangel Gabriel, at the moment that she conceived the Divine Lord Jesus in her womb, the Blessed Mother spoke these words of praise: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” While Mary is rejoicing at the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in her womb, all of creation rejoices with her that Salvation now dwells on earth among men. Before every Sunday Mass we will hear the big bell ring out in joy, welcoming all people to the Sacrament of our Lord’s Precious Body and Blood. Mary is always rejoicing in Jesus her Son and when we hear the big bell ring, it will remind us that our holiness is deepened every time that we rejoice in the Lord.

The little bell, Little Saint John, is not named for the pastor, but is named after Saint John the Baptist. When Saint John was in the womb of his mother, Saint Elizabeth, he danced for joy in the presence of the Lord Jesus. Every time we hear the little bell ring out in its high tone, it will remind us of Saint John who leapt for joy in the presence of the Lord!

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