Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Instagram Give

 

By Edwin Benson


Religious oriented or not, shock and consternation set in almost instantly. To watch the iconic Paris cathedral of Notre-Dame burn set many a mind and heart in agony and foreboding. Local French residents lined the streets in sorrowful singing and prayers.

Reporters discussed the cathedral’s importance as a French landmark, tourist attraction and UNESCO heritage site. Offers of aid poured in from all over the world. Almost immediately, there was a clamor that the cathedral be rebuilt exactly as it appeared before the fire.

 

The Importance of Notre Dame

For devout Catholics, the partial loss of this treasure was traumatic. Indeed, in the architectural hierarchy of the Church, Notre-Dame de Paris ranks with Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Some cathedrals may be older, larger or even more beautiful. However, no cathedral is more recognizable than the great Gothic structure on the Seine. Notre-Dame is the towering symbol of the Catholic Faith in France.

The influence of Notre Dame goes far beyond France to the whole Catholic world. Architects in the United States drew inspiration from the French interpretation of the Gothic style. Millions of American Catholics worship in front of altars and windows influenced by those of Notre-Dame.

That influence was threatened by the first plans presented for the restoration. Many architects made outlandish modernistic proposals that would have remade the great cathedral in their own image. French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to be considering some of them.

A great outcry erupted throughout France, asking for an “authentique” restoration. The French Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) gathered nearly 144,000 signatures in a short time as part of the reaction against those who would disfigure the structure through an inauthentic restoration. And the American TFP’s premier campaign, America Needs Fatima, joined in sending over 22,000 concerned petitions from America. The efforts paid off.

According to the Associated Press, “Macron came around to the traditionalists’ argument, and approved reconstruction plans for the twelfth-century monument that were presented Thursday [July 9, 2020], according to a statement from the state agency overseeing the project…. That means how Notre Dame was on the afternoon of April 15, 2019, before the fire broke out, consumed the roof and threatened the rose-windowed twin towers that keep the cathedral upright.”

 

A Public Display of Tradition

As a demonstration of the restoration, craftsmen presented a sample oak truss in front of the cathedral on September 19, 2020. As part of European Heritage Days, carpenters displayed one of the twenty-five trusses that will support the new roof in front of the Cathedral.

The truss was made with medieval carpentry techniques. A Catholic News Agency story on the event quoted architect Romain Greif, who attended the event with his family. He spoke for many when he said, “It’s a moment to see ancestral techniques that last. There is the present and the past, and it links us to our roots.”

The original trusses of giant French oak were built during the thirteenth century but replaced during a nineteenth-century restoration. It will be years before this new truss takes its place atop Notre Dame, but the sample proves that the medieval methods can still be replicated.

 

Delaying an Already Massive Task

The restoration suffered many delays. When COVID-19 struck, all work stopped. According to Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris, a full three months was lost.

Reconstruction of Notre DameAnother delay was the threat of workers’ exposure to lead. According to a study published in GeoHealth, Notre Dame’s roof contained 460 tons of lead. Researchers found lead dust up to thirty-one miles from the site.

The restoration can only begin after removing massive amounts of scaffolding. When the fire struck, the cathedral was undergoing a restoration process, which required scaffolding. It must now be carefully removed because the fire affected both the metal in the scaffolds and the stone which supports them.

The stone may present a more critical problem. Most of Notre Dame is built of limestone, which can turn to dust at roughly 800-900 degrees Celsius. The heat of the fire was estimated at 800 degrees. The possible effect of the water on the heated stone must also be considered. The possibility of heat and water damage means that the thousands of stones that will support the new roof and spire need to be carefully and individually inspected.

 

Reasons for Hope

However, medieval builders knew what they were doing as Stone Specialist points out.

“The medieval masons who constructed the massive cathedral had put the lead-covered wooden roof structure above a vaulted ceiling constructed of 800m3 of limestone, intended to protect the interior in case the roof ever did catch alight. It was largely successful. Below it, rattan chairs, priceless paintings and stained glass windows were largely undamaged. A gold-plated cross above the altar and the Pietà… were among many priceless works of art that were protected from the effects of the blaze.”

It took about two hundred years to build Notre Dame. If the spirit of those who want to see Notre Dame restored to its pre-fire appearance holds firm, the job will be accomplished in much less time. Generations yet unborn will see its magnificence. The restoration may yet serve to bring the French people back to the Faith, which too many of them ignored.

Let us pray that it be so!

 


Originally seen on returntoorder.org

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for May 5, 2021

Thou hast formed us for Thyself O Lord and our hearts are re...

read link

May 5

 

Thou hast formed us for Thyself O Lord
and
our hearts are restless
till they find rest in Thee!

St. Augustine of Hippo

 
SIGN me UP as a 2021 Rosary Rally Captain

 

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Hilary of Arles

On one side, I saw the Lord calling me; on the other the wor...

read link

St. Hilary of Arles

Hilary was of a noble, patrician family of means and influence, a close relative of St. Honoratus and the founder of the Monastery of Lérins on the Mediterranean island of the same name, a monastery which is active to this day.

Wealthy, highly educated, and endowed with exceptional abilities, Hilary looked forward to a brilliant career in the world. But his saintly relative felt that he was called to serve his God in religious life and did his utmost to convince him to leave the things of the world.

After a fierce inner struggle, Hilary decided to sell his patrimony and follow his holy mentor to Lérins. He writes of this interior battle: “On one side, I saw the Lord calling me; on the other the world offering me its seducing charms and pleasures. How often did I embrace and reject, willed and not willed the same thing!  But in the end Jesus Christ triumphed in me. And three days after Honoratus had left me, the mercy of God, solicited by his prayers, subdued my rebellious soul.”

When Honoratus was elected Bishop of Arles in 426, being already an old man, he wished to have Hilary’s assistance and companionship, and himself traveled to Lérins to fetch his relation.
At Honoratus’ death in 429, Hilary, though grieving, rejoiced to return to his island abbey. He had started on his journey, when he was overtaken by messengers from the citizens of Arles begging him to accept the miter. Though only twenty-nine, he submitted, being well prepared for the task by his years of religious life and assistance to Honoratus. Though observing the austerities of the cloister, he took up his diocesan work with immense energy.

Known for his kindness and charity, he is also remembered for publicly rebuking a government official for bringing shame to the Church. He helped establish monasteries, and strengthened the discipline and orthodoxy of the Church through several councils. He sold Church property to ransom those kidnapped, and is said to have worked miracles in his lifetime.

Though his life was marked by some canonical disputes with Pope St. Leo I, the same Pontiff praised him in a letter to his successor, calling him, “Hilary of holy memory.”

He died on May 5, 449, just short of fifty years of age.

Second Image by: Esby

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One of the stories that particularly touched me was Jacinta'...

read link

“Why Don’t They Tell us These Things”

JacintaIt often happens that while traveling with the Fatima statue we get into conversations with host families about the Fatima message. Such was the case one evening in Atlanta, Georgia while chatting with one father and his 12 year old daughter, Lillie.

The last time I had seen this girl was close to five years ago. In the interim, she has developed into a lovely respectful young lady with an artistic talent matched by her keen desire for knowledge.

The subject that evening was children who had attained sanctity. This naturally led to a conversation about the heroic sacrifices of the youngest seer at Fatima, Blessed Jacinta Marto.  I never tire of telling the story of her heroism that was so well recounted by William Thomas Walsh in his masterful book, Our Lady of Fatima

One of the stories that particularly touched me was Jacinta’s final illness with the dreaded flu of the time and her death — alone in a hospital far from home. It was actually there in the hospital that she had a private apparition in which Our Lady asked her if she would undergo such suffering for poor sinners. Jacinta unhesitatingly accepted but in her weak moments, she would break down in tears as she contemplated her situation. She was, after all, only 8 years old, dying in a strange hospital, far away from her mother and Lucia, whom she loved so much.   

However, she had an iron will and she would regain her composure the minute she remembered the good she was capable of doing for poor sinners by her suffering. Immediately she would wipe away her tears and offer up her suffering.

Telling this story, I noticed that Lillie was paying close attention absorbing it in all its details. Realizing this, I made it a point not to leave out any detail in the narration of the life of this heroic little girl. When I finished, Lillie asked a simple yet pungent question: “Why don’t they tell us these things?”

“That is a very good question,” I responded.

And although I don’t know if I know the answer, one thing I do know: young people are starving for marvelous examples like that of Blessed Jacinta Marto.

Written by Norman Fulkerson


Invitation to learn more about Blessed Jacinta Marto:

Jacinta’s Story is the Fatima story imaginatively told through the eyes of Blessed Jacinta Marto, the youngest of the three seers to whom Our Lady appeared in 1917 to deliver the most important message of our times. The book is hardbound and richly illustrated by author Andrea F. Phillips.

Jacinta’s Story contains many vital lessons for children—why it is so important that they pray the Rosary, obey their parents and follow the difficult but rewarding road of virtue in this life.

Visit our On-Line store to place your book order: https://store.tfp.org

One of the stories that particularly touched me was Jacinta's final illness with the dreaded flu of the time and her death — alone in a hospital far from home. 

Let’s keep in touch!