Amidst the devastation of the fire, what was most noticeable from social media was the outpouring of faith and emotion that the blaze caused. People stopped in their tracks at impromptu vigils and sang Marian hymns and prayed rosaries. Many people were weeping, and there was obvious relief when it emerged that the façade of the building with the iconic towers had been saved.
As well as the firefighters who put their lives on the line, another hero emerging from the flames is Fire Brigade chaplain Fr Jean-Marc Fournier. He is credited with saving a reliquary containing the crown of thorns and the Blessed Sacrament from the burning cathedral.
Church leaders joined government officials in saying they expect that Notre-Dame grandeur will be restored.
“Having marked the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are now experiencing our own passion, but we know that after it will come the resurrection. We believe in this and we will proclaim it by rebuilding this cathedral,” Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit said outside of the 850-year-old historic structure.
French President Emmanuel Macron praised the “extreme courage and great professionalism” of first responders who helped save the towers of the Gothic landmark.
More than one billion euro has already been raised to help with the reconstruction efforts.