A Prayer for Notre Dame

Two days ago, on Monday April 15, 2019, the world watched in horror as the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris went up in flames.  Every newscaster referred to the cathedral as ‘iconic’ and it is.  As of this date more of the cathedral survived than originally feared but much was destroyed.  Here’s a link to the best article I could find on the fire and the plans to rebuild.

https://www.cbsnews.com/live-news/notre-dame-cathedral-fire-dozens-investigating-notre-dame-fire-cause-today-2019-04-17-live-updates/  It’s almost impossible to make myself look at the pictures.

I’ve only seen Notre Dame once and then only from the outside.  It was at the end of my first trip to Europe.  I flew in and out of Paris, then took the train to Avignon for a bike trip in Provence. And after the bike trip, I stayed one night on the Left Bank, near the Botanical Gardens.  Early in the morning, before leaving for the airport,  I walked along the Seine and took a few pictures of the views as well as Notre Dame rising from the mist at dawn.  My memories are clearer than my pictures but I’m including them as a prayer for Notre Dame. I can still recall the awe I felt watching its spires rise out of the morning mist. I hope anyone reading this will feel the same and consider giving even a small donation to the rebuilding.

August 2019:  Here are some links with updates on the status of rebuilding Notre Dame: https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/notre-dame-cathedral  and https://www.notredamedeparis.fr/en/

April 14, 2020:  On the eve of the first anniversary of the fire, Paris is now dealing with another disaster, the coronavirus or COVID-19.  Originally President Macron set an ambitious date of 2024 to reopen Notre Dame but lock downs caused by the virus have put that date in jeopardy.  As stated in the article,   Notre Dame Was Meant to Reopen by 2024. Then Came Coronavirus,


For now, no one knows when the team will even be able to return to continue restoration work. The artisans and architects hold daily video calls with Georgelin (appointed by President Emmanuel Macron to oversee the entire reconstruction of Notre-Dame) and Tissier (director of operations for Notre-Dame’s reconstruction), in order to plot out how it might be possible.  And no one seems to know.

September 7, 2020: According to this article, Notre-Dame crypt reopens with exhibition 18 months after blaze,

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/news/notre-dame-crypt-reopens-with-exhibition-18-months-after-blaze/ar-BB18MBJt?ocid=msedgntp  there has been some slow progress since June leading to the reopening of the archaeological crypt which ‘pays homage to French writer Victor Hugo and the architect Eugene Viollet-Le-Duc, the two men behind the resurrection of the cathedral in the 19th century.’

We can only hope the progress continues.

January 12, 2021: My latest research on the status of the Notre Dame repairs yielded this article: The Notre Dame Cathedral Repairs have reached a Milestone at:

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/notre-dame-cathedral-repairs.  The most recent progress involved removing melted scaffolding.  The article states: Thankfully although the scaffolding had contorted due to the heat, it was successfully taken off, according to a post on the cathedral’s Instagram account.

So while progress is continuing, the restoration is not expected to be completed until 2024.  

April 15, 2021, the two year anniversary: A Look at Notre-Dame Cathedral’s Restoration Two Years After Devastating Fire (msn.com)

According to the referenced article, the decision to restore Notre-Dame in an ‘historically accurate manner’ could take decades.  While there has not been significant change in terms of progress since my last update, ‘officials [say] they aim for Notre-Dame to be open for a “return to worship” by Macron’s 2024 deadline before the full restoration is complete.’ 

“The objective . . . is to return Notre-Dame to worshippers and to visits in 2024. That means that in 2024, Mass will be able to be organized in the cathedral,” Jeremie Patrier-Leitus, a spokesperson for the restoration, told the Associated Press in April 2021.

I have a fantasy of visiting Paris in September 2021 and if so, I will add pictures and commentary afterwards.

December 2021:  And I did visit Paris the end of September 2021. My  sister, niece and I walked from our hotel in Montparnasse, through the Jardin du Luxembourg (https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71393/Jardin-du-Luxembourg) and then took a street towards the Seine.  We were looking around trying to get our bearings, then realized we were in front of the Cluny and when we turned around we say the spires of Notre Dame.  Despite the scaffolding around the cathedral, it looked absolutely beautiful against the bright blue sky.

We continued along the Seine to the Pont Neuf and crossed over to the Ile de la Cité and probably sat for at least an hour in the open area in front of the cathedral.

And if you subscribe to National Geographic, it has a multi part series on the rebuilding.  You can read a summary of the series at this link https://abc7ny.com/notre-dame-fire-cathedral-natgeo-national-geographic/11487460/            The summary also has some amazing pictures of the rebuilding.

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