Dear Commons Community,
The Cathedral of Notre Dame will hold its first Mass tonight since a devastating fire ripped through the French cathedral and sent its spire crashing down in April.
For “security reasons,” it will be limited to about 30 people and will take place in a side chapel, Agence France-Presse reported. Attendees will be required to wear hard hats inside the 850-year-old structure, which is still in repair, according to ABC News.
Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit will lead the service, which will also celebrate the anniversary of the consecration of its altar. The event is commemorated each year on June 16.
The April 15 blaze began in the cathedral’s attic during the start of Holy Week and was “potentially linked” to renovations, firefighters said, according to HuffPost France. Though the flames destroyed roughly two-thirds of the roof, city officials confirmed that the main structure had been “saved and preserved.”
The next morning, Paris firefighters announced that it took nearly 400 of them more than nine hours to put out the fire. Three first responders were slightly injured, but no one died.
The first images of the building appeared to show sculptor Nicolas Coustou’s 300-year-old Pieta still intact before rows of charred pews. However, burning embers could be seen through gaping holes in the ceiling, which had been eaten through by the flames.
French President Emmanuel Macron immediately assured the public the cathedral would be rebuilt as messages of solidarity arrived from leaders around the world.
I was in Paris two weeks ago and it was quite sad to see Notre Dame covered in huge tarps, scaffolding, and with cranes and other construction equipment surrounding it. At that time, the area around it was cordoned off and the public was not allowed to get close to it.