Statement of Archbishop Smith re Notre Dame Cathedral

Like Catholics around the world, I was shocked and saddened by news of the devastating fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. In my own visits to that holy place, I could not help but be overwhelmed by the beauty of the building and the divine inspiration that enabled human beings to create it so many years ago. I remember marvelling at the magnificent stained glass windows and sacred art inside, and try now to imagine the scope of the loss. For it is a loss not only to the people of Paris, but to the cultural heritage of France and to people of faith everywhere.

While the loss is immense, I am grateful that no lives were lost and heartened by the immediate outpouring of generosity by the people of France toward reconstruction. The fact that the fire occurred during Holy Week places a special focus on the news for us as Catholics. This is a week when we remember and celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. His message for us remains stronger than ever: that even the bleakest darkness can be overcome and that through Him, light shall prevail. 

I pray that this moment in time is one of deep reflection for Christians and all people of good will. May Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary intercede to lift up and encourage all those who sorrow at this time, and the many who shall work to restore what has been lost.

Notre Dame, priez pour nous.

✠ Richard W. Smith

 Archbishop of Edmonton