Notre Dame cathedral held its first Mass since a devastating fire ripped through the iconic Parisian landmark, two months to the day that flames engulfed the church.
On Saturday, Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit wore a hard-hat helmet as a precautionary measure due to the vaulted ceiling, which still remains at risk of collapsing, French Culture Minister Franck Riester said, according to the Associated Press.
About 30 attendees were on hand for the Mass, and the group was comprised mainly of priests, canons and church employees, according to the AP.
Though the main structure of the cathedral was spared in the April 15 fire, its roof and towering spire were heavily damaged in the blaze, and eventually collapsed.
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The outlet reports that the Mass, which was broadcast live on a religious TV station, took place in a chapel behind the choir, a section deemed safe by construction experts.
Saturday was specifically chosen to mark the anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral’s altar, celebrated every year on June 16, AFP reports.
“It is with much emotion that we are here to celebrate the consecration of the cathedral,” Aupetit said, according to Reuters. “It is a message of hope and thanks to all those who were moved by what happened to this cathedral.”
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French President Emmanuel Macron’s timeline to rebuild Notre Dame, which dates back to around 1260 but has been modified, is five years, though Riester said that perhaps it may take longer.
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“The president was right to give a target, an ambition,” he told Reuters. “But obviously what matters in the end is the quality of the work. So it does not mean that work will be totally finished in exactly five years.”
The outlet also reported that the French government has said that they’ve so far received less than 10 percent of the $953 million in rebuilding funds pledged by billionaires, business leaders and others.
“We will rebuild this cathedral. It will take time, of course – a lot of money, a lot of time, lot of work – but we will succeed,” Father Pierre Vivares told the AP. “Today it’s a small but a true victory against the disaster we have had.”