A small congregation, wearing hard hats for safety reasons, attended a mass in Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral, two months after the building was gutted in a devastating fire.
A small crowd of 30 attended, half of them clergy. They filed into a small side-chapel for the mass, which was broadcast live on Catholic TV network KTOTV.
Saturday’s mass celebrated the consecration of the cathedral’s altar, a date honored every year. Patrick Chauvet, rector of Notre Dame, told AFP that the mass is “highly significant, spiritually,” and called it a chance to show that “Notre-Dame is truly alive.”
For the moment, Notre Dame remains clad in scaffolding, after its gothic spire and significant portions of its roof were destroyed in the April 15 blaze. The tragedy prompted an outpouring of grief, and a host of French business tycoons promised to open their wallets to finance the cathedral’s reconstruction. However, the French government said recently that less than ten percent of the 850 million euros pledged has been received so far.
More than 100 workers have been clearing the cathedral of debris and reinforcing the structure every day since the fire was extinguished. After a national debate over how Notre Dame should be rebuilt, the French senate voted last month to restore the building to its previous state, with no modernist architectural flourishes.
French President Emanuel Macron has set a target of five years to complete the restoration, a goal seen by some as overly ambitious.
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