University of Notre Dame president reacts to Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris, pledges reconstruction funds

Photo: David Merrett / Flickr / CC

The president of the University of Notre Dame, Rev. John I. Jenkins, has released a statement in reaction to the devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

In a statement, Jenkins writes:

We are deeply saddened to see the damage to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, a church whose exquisite Gothic architecture has for centuries raised hearts and minds to God. We join in prayer with the faithful of the cathedral and all of France as they begin the work of rebuilding. We are reminded of the words of our founder, Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin, a French immigrant, who, after a terrible fire destroyed our campus in 1879, said:

‘Tomorrow we will begin again and build it bigger, and when it is built, we will put a gold dome on top with a golden statue of the Mother of God so that everyone who comes this way will know to whom we owe whatever great future this place has.’

Jenkins says that the University of Notre Dame will donate $100,000 toward the restoration of the historic cathedral. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Notre Dame’s campus near South Bend will toll 50 times on Tuesday, April 16 at 6 PM Eastern, “representing the 50 Hail Marys of Our Lady’s rosary.”

The Notre Dame Cathedral – an icon of Paris and symbol of France – caught fire yesterday, resulting in the destruction of the historic cathedral’s spire and two-thirds of the roof. The two main towers were spared. A cause is not yet known, although the cathedral was undergoing renovations.

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