Wednesday 17 April 2024

Rector of Notre-Dame: This is how the reopening will take place

The reopening of Notre-Dame de Paris five years after the major fire is seen by the rector of the cathedral as a "sign of hope for the whole world". 

In a shattered world full of tension and despair, it shows that "what seemed dead is still standing, thanks to the solidarity of all those who made it possible", Olivier Ribadeau Dumas told the online diocesan magazine "Paris Notre-Dame" on the fifth anniversary of the fire on 15/16 April 2019.

The rebuilding is a sign "that fraternity has a real meaning and that if we join forces, we can create something great and beautiful", said the rector. 

This could not have been foreseen five years ago. 

The reopening of the Episcopal Church of Paris is also an opportunity for a spiritual awakening, emphasised Ribadeau Dumas; and: "This is not the reconstruction of a museum, but a church that is called to be a sign of God's presence in the heart of our city."

What is planned for the reopening?

The rector also explained what the reopening on 8 December will look like. On the afternoon of 7 December, the doors of Notre-Dame will be ceremoniously opened, followed by the blessing of the organ, which had to be completely dismantled, cleaned and reassembled. 

The ceremony concludes with a Te Deum and the Magnificat. 

On the morning of 8 December, the second Sunday in Advent and the Solemnity of the Assumption, the new altar is consecrated. 

This is followed by the first mass. 

On 9 December, another mass is celebrated in the presence of numerous bishops and priests from France and around the world.

As the Paris cathedral can only seat 1,500 people, a large marquee is erected around the church. 

Large screens will be installed there and throughout the city so that visitors and all the inhabitants of Paris can see their cathedral again. 

In the following days until 15 December, services will be held for charitable associations, the needy, individual religious communities, young people, donors, carers, etc.

The early Gothic Parisian episcopal church of Notre-Dame is a landmark of Paris. It is considered by many to be the epitome of French cathedrals. 

Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the church is prominently located on the Ile de la Cite in the historic centre of the Seine and was visited by around 12 to 14 million people a year before the major fire in 2019. 

During renovation work, a major fire broke out on the roof of Notre-Dame on 15 April 2019, destroying the roofs and roof trusses, parts of the vaults and the crossing tower. 

President Emmanuel Macron's wish to reopen the church by the fifth anniversary of the fire could not quite be met, but it is due to take place on 8 December.