No Christmas Mass at Notre-Dame for first time in 2 centuries
PARIS, France– Notre-Dame cathedral will fail to hold a Christmas mass for the first time since 1803, French officials confirmed on Saturday, December 21, as workers continue to repair and rebuild the Paris landmark 8 months after a devastating fire.
The cathedral's press office said midnight mass would still be celebrated on Christmas Eve by rector Patrick Chauvet but it would be held at the nearby church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois. (READ: Notre-Dame, soul of the French nation)
Notre-Dame, part of a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage site on the banks of the River Seine, was ravaged by the April 15 blaze–– losing its gothic spire, roof and many precious artefacts.
The building had remained open for Christmas through 2 centuries of often tumultuous history–– including the Nazi occupation in World War II–– being forced to close only during the anti-Catholic revolutionary period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
President Emmanuel Macron has set a timetable of 5 years to completely repair the 8-centuries-old structure, which remains shrouded in scaffolding with a vast crane looming over it.
Paris prosecutors suspect criminal negligence and opened an investigation in June, suggesting a stray cigarette butt or an electrical fault could be the culprit.
The culture ministry said in October that nearly one billion euros ($1.1 billion) had been pledged or raised for the reconstruction. – Rappler.com