After the devastating fire in April, Notre Dame Cathedral stopped holding services for months out of safety concerns, but on June 15, Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit performed the Mass wearing a hardhat as the building is still “in a fragile state.”
Town & Country reports that the Mass was limited to 30 people including priests, canons, and other religious representatives, all of whom had to wear protective headgear as the vault has not yet been secured.
Archbishop Aupetit shared a statement to thank everyone who had contributed to the reconstruction efforts.
“May all those who have mobilized since April 15 and all those who continue to work every day for Notre-Dame, be they donors, architects, construction workers, political leaders, be warmly thanked for their efforts.”
But a Notre Dame press official says that the big European donors who pledged millions immediately after the fire, like French billionaires like François-Henri Pinault and Bernard Arnault, haven’t paid. “Not a cent.”
The New York Times reports that the solemn first Mass which was restricted in size due to security concerns was televised via video on a Catholic channel on YouTube. The Mass was held in the Chapel of the Virgin, and as the camera pans around, viewers can see the charred timbers caused by the fire.
While the edifice of the cathedral is still being shored up, approximately 150 people are now working on site to refurbish the building.
The Mass on June 15 was held on this day which is significant because it marked the consecration of Notre Dame’s altar, typically celebrated every year. The cathedral continues to be closed to the public, but this annual celebration was important, says Monsignor Aupetit.
“The cathedral was born of the faith of our ancestors,” Monsignor Aupetit said in his service. “It was born of Christian hope.”
Just after the fire, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild Notre Dame within five years, but that plan has been criticized.
But there has been a bright side following the fire, says The Inquisitr, as parts of the cathedral were preserved, including the beehives (from which honey was collected) which were situated on the roof of the building near the spires which collapsed. Following the fire, experts feared that even if the housing was still in place, that it was likely that the bees were killed by the heat and the smoke.
But drones flew over, piloted by urban beekeeping company, Beeopic, and shared that everything was still intact.
“An ounce of hope! The photos taken by different drones show that the three hives are still in place … and obviously intact!”