Notre Dame Cathedral in flames has horrified the world. What we have also immediately discovered is that it is impossible to destroy this symbol of the City of Light which is so firmly implanted in the hearts and minds – not just of millions but billions of lovers of culture and architecture worldwide. Architecture is art of the soul whether it is a painting on a cave wall or its ultimate sophisticated expression of beauty and history in Notre Dame – it binds our humanity and our progress as civilizations throughout history.
No wonder editions of the novel Notre Dame de Paris, the masterpiece by Victor Hugo with Esmeralda and the hunchback are newly sought by avid lovers of the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Faster than the flames could destroy Notre Dame’s roof – this symbol of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity in the Paris skyline was already being rebuilt spiritually.
Prince Albert immediately poured out his feeling of solidarity with the citizens of France in a letter to President Emmanuel Macron:
“I am deeply moved and sad in the face of this terrible fire that devastates Notre-Dame de Paris, a magnificent place of meditation for Catholics that has crossed the history of France but also a work admired by the whole world. My family and the people of Monaco are in solidarity with the Parisians in this event,” opined tenderly Prince Albert II.
First came spirit and expressions of solidarity and then followed leading examples galvanizing the determination of the world community to rebuild Notre Dame. Prince Albert pledges Monaco’s firm support for the renaissance of the roof:
“Our community (in Monaco) is mobilizing to make its financial contribution to the renovation work which will result in a rebirth of the splendour (of Notre Dame which is part) of our world heritage and whose spiritual, cultural and artistic influence will continue to shine and perpetuate.”
Monsignor Bernard Barsi followed Prince Albert with a beautiful expression of brotherhood:
“To show our solidarity with the diocese of Paris and our common hope, the bells of all the cathedrals of France ring on Wednesday at 18:50, the hour of the beginning of the fire at Notre-Dame. The Cathedral of Monaco is associated with this initiative.”
There is an uncanny thread of the same human emotion in the expressions from all the European countries and the United Nations.
President Macron, obviously, for the French people:
“Notre-Dame de Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thought for all Catholics and for all French.”
From the Mayor of London:
“Heart-breaking scenes of Notre Dame cathedral in flames. London stands in sorrow with Paris today, and in friendship always.”
But equally words spoken for Chancellor Angela Merkel from Germany:
“It is with deep sadness that I follow the events in Paris. I am sorry to see these terrible images of Our Lady, symbol of France and our European culture, in flames. Our thoughts are with our French friends.”
Not to forget the communities in which Princess Grace spent years and also where Prince Albert studied in the United States. Their outpourings of grief and support are countless and too numerous to mention.
As Prince Albert has encouraged and following the fire of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Diocese of Monaco is mobilizing and setting up a solidarity fund which will eventually be donated to the diocese of Paris to help rebuild the devastated site. To participate, simply send your donations:
– By check payable to “Diocesan Secretariat – Our Lady”, Diocese of Monaco, B.P. 517, 98015 Monaco
– Wire Transfer:
IBAN: MC58 1273 9000 7300 4027 8000 189 BIC: CFMOMCMXXXX
Diocesan Secretariat – Our Lady
– By internet: deposit your donations online: www.diocese.mc
Imagine your contribution joined by those outpourings of love and solidarity from sister communities throughout the world, including UNESCO and the United Nations. This will take Notre Dame Cathedral from its 850 years to, in the words of Prince Albert, a world symbol of “spiritual, cultural and artistic influence” well beyond its 1000th year.