This week is Holy Week, when millions of Christians mark the death and resurrection of Jesus. Under normal circumstances, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris would have been preparing to display its holy relics to the faithful on Good Friday. Instead, it has burned. And while the fire at the Cathedral is now extinguished, it has left behind a smoldering hole in the heart of Paris.
After a nine-hour battle, firefighters managed to save Notre Dame’s famed façade and towers, and many invaluable works of art. But Notre Dame was not just architecturally and artistically beautiful—it is also a sacred space of worship. Its place in Catholicism is undisputed, as is its role in French history. The nearly 900-year-old-cathedral survived plagues, the French revolution and the Nazi occupation, and continues to attract over 30,000 visitors a day of all nationalities and religions.
Our hearts are with the people of Paris and all worshippers who know the sorrow of losing their sacred spaces. Yet, Notre Dame has survived decay and destruction before, and the bells will toll again – maybe not on this Easter. But soon. So to those who celebrate, may this Easter be filled with hope, love and those who matter to you.