The company that originally made the bell is no longer in existence, so it was sent to Verdin Bell & Clocks in Cincinnati, which cleaned the bell and brought it back to its original condition. They also installed a electronic clapper.
“It no longer has the hanging pendulum part of the bell,” Mussen said. “There’s a piston up inside the bell; you can kind of see there’s a little cable running up the bell into it. It powers the piston that drives this hammer that strikes the bell. It’s really a neat gizmo and it’s wirelessly activated. We have kind of like a garage-door opener that we use.”
To some extent, the bell is already in use. Everyday at noon, the bell plays the “Angelus,” Mussen said, and after the dedication it will be offered to families to ring during funeral processions at the site.
“To me, to be able to ring it like on Veteran’s Day ... to be able to do stuff like that ... it will add some real significance to the event,” Mussen said. “It lends some weight to a very important part of a very difficult situation.”
The history of the bell will be on display at a monument at the site, and people are able to buy paving stones around the area and have them engraved. Mussen said there’s also been an increased interest in the new section of Mount Olivet around the bell.
When Ascension and St. Albert the Great parishes merged into the new St. Jude the Apostle Parish and the Ascension buildings were sold, many parishioners had a difficult time with the loss, Mussen said.
“Hopefully this will help the healing process,” he said. “This bell is going to be there forever. I’m very hopeful that it helps.”