Fire Engulfs Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral
PARIS (CNS) – An April 15 fire engulfed the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, sending pillars of flame and billowing smoke over the center of the French capital.
As the sun set over Paris, the fire consumed the upper portion of the cathedral and the main steeple was filled with flames. It eventually collapsed into the church. Investigators suspect that an electrical short-circuit caused the fire. Major renovation work was occurring at the centuries-old cathedral.
"Everything is burning. The framing, which dates from the 19th century on one side and the 13th on the other, there will be nothing left," Andre Finot, a spokesman for the cathedral, told Agence France-Presse.
First responders and Notre Dame Cathedral staff were able to save the Eucharist and many significant relics, including the Crown of Thorns.
The magnitude of the fire resonated with church leaders as well as those involved in preserving culturally important sites around the world.
The Vatican issued a statement in the evening saying that it learned "with shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, symbol of Christianity, in France and in the world."
"We express our closeness to the French Catholic and to the people of Paris. We pray for the firefighters and for all those who are doing everything possible to face this dramatic situation," the statement said.
“The horrific fire that is engulfing the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is shocking and saddens us all, for this particular cathedral is not only a majestic church, it is also a world treasure," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in solidarity with the Cathedral of Notre Dame, is welcoming donations through a special online collection in the wake of the devastating fire.
The National Shrine, also called America’s Catholic Church, is facilitating donations and prayer intentions to support Notre Dame and those affected by this tragedy.
The proceeds of every donation will be used to support the Cathedral of Notre Dame and those affected by this tragedy.
To donate and offer prayer intentions, visit https://www.nationalshrine.org/support-notre-dame/.