Bishop Soto issues statement regarding destructive fire at Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris

Amid the devastating fire taking place at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento has issued the following statement:

“This destructive fire at the historic treasure and divine haven of mercy tears at our hearts. The iconic cathedral dedicated to Our Lady, Notre Dame, has stood as a stalwart citadel of faith for centuries. This tragic moment, coming as it does during Holy Week, is another test of that faith, but let us remember that it is the enduring grace of Jesus that has been and will be foundation and buttress of the Church.”

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement to the people of Paris:

“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. Noble in architecture and art, it has long been a symbol of the transcendent human spirit as well as our longing for God. Our hearts go out to the Archbishop and the people of Paris, and we pray for all the people of France, entrusting all to the prayers and intercession of the Mother of God, especially the firefighters battling the fire. We are a people of hope and of the resurrection, and as devastating as this fire is, I know that the faith and love embodied by this magnificent Cathedral will grow stronger in the hearts of all Christians.”

Catholic News Agency has reported the following about the fire:

Paris, France, Apr 15, 2019 / 11:33 am (CNA).- The Cathedrale Notre-Dame is on fire, according to the Paris fire department. Multiple eyewitnesses shared photos and videos of the cathedral with visible plumes of smoke and flames across the cathedral’s roof.

Firefighters responded to an alarm rasied shortly before 7pm, April 15. The historic spire of the cathedral, which stood 226 feet tall, collapsed shortly before 8pm.

The entire cathedral roof appears to have collapsed, while the fire continues to burn within the main structure.

Current efforts are focused on the main bell tower, with Paris' chief firefighter highlighting the risk to what remains of the structure if the main bell should fall through the tower.

Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris said that "firefighters are still fighting to save the towers of Notre-Dame de Paris. The frame, the roof and the boom are consumed." 

"Pray," the archbishop told the priests of Paris, he also invited them to ring church bells as a public invitation to prayer.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the major religious and artistic treasures of the cathedral were removed as the fire began, including a relic of the crown of thorns.

Initial reports indicated that buring debris from the fire was falling in the immeadite vicinity of the cathedral, but local media are now describing the fire as contained with in the cathedral building itself.

Firefighters have cautioned that although the height of the flames appears has abated, the fire within the cathedral itself is not under contol. Efforts were initially hampered by the height of the cathedral roof, which prevented emergency services from reaching the flames.

No announcement has yet been made concerning any injuries or fatalities resulting from the fire. 

To read the entire story from Catholic News Agency, visit https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/breaking-fire-engulfs-notre-dame-cathedral-in-paris-50044

In photo above, fire rages at Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris, April 15, 2019. FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images. (Photo courtesy of Catholic News Agency)