Seeing Notre Dame Burn: A Catholic Perspective

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Seeing Notre Dame Burn: A Catholic Perspective

Notre Dame on Fire
ptopix_france_notre_dame_fire_87705-jpg-8a639-2560x1759.jpeg

Notre Dame on Fire ptopix_france_notre_dame_fire_87705-jpg-8a639-2560x1759.jpeg

Notre Dame on Fire ptopix_france_notre_dame_fire_87705-jpg-8a639-2560x1759.jpeg

Notre Dame on Fire ptopix_france_notre_dame_fire_87705-jpg-8a639-2560x1759.jpeg

Colleen Roach, Staff Writer

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Notre Dame. (www.lonelyplanet.com)

 

“It’s not just a building”. Those were my first words to someone who asked why so many were upset over an old building burning. Yes, it is a historic landmark, one that has stood for over 800 years. Its bells announced the ending of both world wars, it survived the French revolution, hosted the coronations of French royalty. However, it was not built to be a landmark.

Notre Dame Cathedral is the second holiest site in the Catholic faith, the first being the Vaticaan. It was built to hold the Crown of Thorns that was placed upon Jesus Christ’s head during his passion, a holy and irreplaceable relic that was at one point thought to be lost in the blaze.    Seeing the notification pop up on my phone, I prayed that it was a small fire, one that could easily be contained and extinguished before anything was lost. And then I saw the video of the spire falling. It was at that moment when I realized that this beautiful, sacred site could be lost.

I couldn’t focus, I was scrolling through Twitter searching for more updates, searching for the good news that there was something more that could be done that would guarantee the rest of the building would be saved. Instead I was greeted with the site of the fire getting closer and closer to the bell towers. All that kept repeating was that if the largest bell, Emmanuel (weighing over 13 U.S. tons), fell, the damage would be irreversible.

So many were pointing out the terrible timing of this fire – the beginning of Holy Week – the most sacred time in the Christian calendar. It is the week leading up to Easter, a time of reflection and penance as we remember Christ’s passion and death, before celebrating his resurrection.

Notre Dame Inside After Fire. (www.arch2o.com)

Yet, even Easter Sunday could not hold any relief. It was during Easter Mass when our priest informed us of the 290 people killed in Sri Lanka after bombs exploded in hotels and churches, where Easter services were being held just like ours. Our relics were saved and our Cathedral can be rebuilt, but those beautiful lives cannot be returned.

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