Pope, Church leaders, united in sorrow over Notre Dame fire

In a telegram to the Archbishop of Paris on Tuesday, Pope Francis joined with the people of Paris and France in their “sorrow” over the fire that damaged the Cathedral of Notre Dame Monday night.

“In these Holy days, where we remember the Passion of Jesus, of his death and resurrection, I assure you of my spiritual closeness and prayers,” he added in a message to Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris dated April 16.

“This catastrophe gravely damaged a historical building,” Francis wrote. “May Notre Dame Cathedral once again become – thanks to reconstruction efforts and the mobilization of all – a sign of the faith of those who built it”.

The Bishops of France said Notre Dame’s influence “extends beyond the capital” and that it would remain “a major symbol of the Catholic faith”. They also invited Catholics around the world to “be living stones of the Church,” especially as the faithful journey through Holy Week and look to the hope of Christ’s Resurrection.

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the cathedral with a national and international fundraising campaign.