The archbishop wore a helmet, burned wood remains were still visible and only about 30 people were let in, but the Cathedral Notre Dame held its first mass on Saturday since the devastating fire of April 15, which devastated their roof and overthrew Master Tower ,
Exactly two months after the fire enveloped the landmark Gothic city in the French capital, the service was celebrated by Parisian archbishop Michel Aupetit in a chapel behind the choir, a place that has been confirmed safe by construction professionals.
French Minister of Culture Franck Riester said this week that the cathedral had remained in a "fragile" condition, especially its vaulted ceiling, which was still prone to collapse. [1
For security reasons, only about 30 people – mainly priests, canons, and clergymen – were admitted to the cathedral for worship, while Aupetit and other construction workers wore helmets. Some of the workers who rebuilt the church were also invited.
Other worshipers were able to follow the Mass live on a Catholic television channel. The video still showed some burnt wood in the church, but a famous statue of the Virgin and Child appeared intact behind wooden construction boards.
The annual dedicatory Mass commemorated the inauguration of the cathedral as a place of worship.
"This cathedral is a place of worship, it has its own and unique purpose," said Aupetit.
A French priest described the service as "a true happiness full of hope".
"We're going to rebuild this cathedral, it will of course take some time – a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of work – but we'll succeed," Father Pierre Vivares told The Associated Press , "Today it is a small but true victory against the disaster we have experienced."
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French President Emmanuel Macron's goal is to rebuild it in just five years, which many experts believe is unrealistic.