Cathedral of Notre Dame

It is with sadness that we write this post - as we stand in solidarity with our friends at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Enduring a fire which included the Spire, as well as wooden items, draperies, fabriques within the church, and more, Notre Dame and Parisians wept for their church…and a sign of the church’s and the country’s strength. We encouraged our friends abroad as they watched parts of their sacred space go up in flames. We stand in solidarity with them at this time, as they look forward, in hope, to rebuilding and creating The New in Notre Dame. While we are unsure whether their rose windows are still intact, we do know the front rose window appears to not have broken (yet further damage assessments will be done), in some form, proof that miracels happen every day. Any part of the church that is still standing is a miracle in and of itself, as it took over 400 firefighters to put out the fire that blazed within her. A double miracle is that the firefighters have made it out safely and no one was injured in the fire; everyone was able to escape the building. The cathedral, still standing, is a sign in and of itself. A sign that faith endures, that people who stand in solidarity with each other lend strength where it is needed, and a sign that humanity itself is not lost. It also shows the hope that surrounds people and is brought to people - through the physical presence of a sacred space.

When the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris was built it is was built to serve as a larger Cathedral than St. Ethienne. “Our Lady” the Queen of All Cathedrals, looks out over the Seine, as well as over Paris; it is located in the Heart of Paris. It welcomes visitors from across the globe to not only experience a space of prayer and faith, but of french history, culture and art. Notre Dame is a breathtaking site/sight to behold. Nothing brings such a deep peace as the nave where one is able to lose oneself in sacred reverie. As we supported our friends in France and for all the churches to sound their bells in solidarity, we watched from afar as the fire ravaged the cathedral. We recognized the Cathedral is not only a place of worship, but also, a landmark for France. It is in the Capital and is seen as the Queen, the Queen of strength. We are happy to state that the stone structure is pretty solid, and withstood, so far, the firey damage…proving again, the strength of the church but also the people of France, and the strength of France itself. The firefighters were able to save the towers and most of her stone structure survives. While most of the wooden inlays have been destroyed, what once was a facade of stars on the ceiling of Notre Dame, has now turned into the stars of the night sky. Our Lady’s true starry mantle covers Notre Dame tonight.

Notre Dame has stood as a symbol of hope for Paris; Parisians love Notre Dame even if they are not Catholic. As a historical landmark, and a deep part of French History, Notre Dame has not only served as a place of worship, but as a place for Coronations of Kings and as the place where St. Joan of Arc was Beatified. Notre Dame has served as the backdrop to Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame as well as the house for numerous relics, including The Crown of Thorns. Happily the bishops in the Diocese of Paris have stated that some of the important relics were removed, The Crown of Thorns being one of them. However, artwork has been damaged and will not be able to be replaced. The extent of the damage to the windows is unknown as well as the extent of the damage to the masonry and architecture. Despite all of this, Notre Dame stands as a sign to people around the globe, that obstacles can be overcome, that hope prevails, and that faith and sacred spaces are very important to places, society, and culture.

Today, many around the globe showed their love, prayers, and support for France and Notre Dame, lifting each other up in hope in prayer and the sounding of bells. Since we do not yet know the cause of the fire, we will continue to stand in solidarity with France at this time, especially as this is Holy Week. Throughout this week we will continue to show the images we have taken of Notre Dame during our time there. While we are at a loss of words at this point in time, for what has transpired today, we do know that hope prevails, and that miracles are present every day. Today, is a moment where miracles abounded.

Paix,

~The Grenchus Foundation

Mary Grenchus