By Jim Fair

Church leaders from around the world expressed their sorrow and offered prayers as Paris dealt with the horrendous fire that engulfed the Cathedral of Notre Dame on Monday, April 15, 2019. Some of the notable comments:

“I just went next door to our own beloved Cathedral, Saint Patrick’s, to ask the intercession of Notre Dame, our Lady, for the Cathedral at the heart of Paris, and of civilization, now in flames! God preserve this splendid house of prayer, and protect those battling the blaze.” – Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York

With all our diocesan Church, we share a deep sorrow to attend helplessly the fire that attacked today at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. We remember that on December 22, 1922, it was the cathedral Notre-Dame of Quebec which had been the prey of the flames. I have just expressed my solidarity with the Archbishop of Paris, Bishop Michel Aupetit and the Rector of the Cathedral, Bishop Patrick Chauvet. On the 14th and 15th of August, I was presiding over the feast of the Assumption at Notre-Dame de Paris. The almost 9 centuries of history of this place of Christian worship and the splendor of this world heritage that invites me to prayer still live in me. At Chrism Mass tomorrow, 7:30 pm, at Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica, we will have a moment of prayer to unite our brothers and sisters of France in faith. In this Holy Week, when we will celebrate the victory of Life over death, we will bring to the heart the Catholic Church of Paris that history unites with that of Quebec. ” – Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec

“Please join me in praying for the people of Paris, the parishioners of Notre-Dame, the Catholics of the city, their archbishop, and all French people, as we watch this terrible tragedy unfold. We pray especially for the safety of first responders, those visiting the cathedral, renovation workers, and the staff of the cathedral. Notre-Dame for centuries has been a symbol of the faith and fortitude of the people of France. In this moment of sorrow, we stand arm in arm with the French people, whose church helped to establish our own diocese, knowing that just as our city once rose from ashes, Paris’ great cathedral will again reach for the heavens.” – Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago

“We, in the Archdiocese of Toronto, join in offering our prayers in solidarity with the people of Paris in the aftermath of the fire which has so terribly damaged their cathedral, the great Notre-Dame de Paris. People of faith recognize the profound spiritual importance of the cathedral and all people recognize the historical, cultural and artistic significance of Notre Dame, one of the great treasures of humanity.” – Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto

“Throughout the day, I’ve monitored news reports regarding the fire overwhelming the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris with deep sadness and shock. For over 800 years, Notre-Dame has been one of the most iconic churches in Christendom—a testament to man’s desire to glorify God on earth and a beacon of hope for millions of pilgrims each year. The ongoing destruction being wrought by flames is doubly sorrowful as it comes during the holiest week of the Christian calendar. I ask the clergy, religious, and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to join me in prayer to the Blessed Mother for the protection of fire personnel and first responders in Paris working to battle the blaze and provide for the safety of the community. We also pray that our Lord will bring comfort and peace to Archbishop Michael Aupetit as well as our brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Paris, and the people of France at this time. In the face of desolation and devastation, we find hope in the Resurrection.” – Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia

“The shock at this fire is spreading around the world. It is an iconic building visited by millions but more importantly is a symbol of faith which is at the heart of Europe. We pray the fire is extinguished quickly & with a shared effort the building made good. Who is not deeply moved at the sight of this great Cathedral in flames? For the people of Paris, this is a disaster that touches their very soul. Pray for them. Pray for the firefighters. Pray for our desire and determination to rebuild this great Cathedral in the same faith that inspired it over 1000 years ago.” – Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

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