Monday, April 15, 2019

Fire at Notre Dame de Paris

As I am sure all of our readers have already seen, the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris has been severely damaged by a fire, which as of this writing is still burning; the wooden parts of the church, including the roof and spire, have collapsed. Nothing has been stated thus far as to the origin of the fire; there has been a wave of church vandalism episodes in France in the last few weeks, but the church was also undergoing a major restoration, and there have been many occasions on which disastrous fires broke out during restoration works. (The ancient Roman basilica of St Paul Outside-the-Walls was destroyed by fire in July of 1823, which began when workmen left a candle burning in the rafters.) We join all the Catholics of the world in praying for the church in Paris, and the preservation of whatever can be saved from the building; the relics of the Crown of Thorns acquired by St Louis IX, e.g. are kept there. We also pray for the safety of the firefighters, several hundred of whom are on the scene. En union de prière avec tous nous amis de la Schola Sainte-Cécile, et tous les catholiques de Paris.

UPDATE: One firefighter was seriously injured, but thus far, there has been no loss of human life. There have now been several confirmations of the report that the Crown of Thorns, St Louis’ tunic, and several other major relics were indeed rescued. There have also been several reports that the main structure of the church will apparently be salvaged.

Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis!
Sancte Dionysi, ora pro nobis!
Sancta Genovefa, ora pro nobis!

UPDATE: A friend sent me the link to this very moving video of people (mostly pretty young, it seems) singing the Ave Maria in French, in sight of the burning cathedral, on the other side of the Seine.

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