Paris, France, Apr 19, 2019 / 08:02 am (CNA).- After a massive fire gutted the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris April 15, the cathedral’s rector says a temporary wooden church might soon be constructed in the esplanade, or plaza, adjacent to the cathedral.
Monsignor Patrick Chauvet told France’s CNews April 18 that he was exploring plans to build an “ephemeral cathedral” adjacent to Notre Dame, where cleanup and construction are expected to begin soon.
Mass would be celebrated and confessions offered at the temporary structure, Chauvet suggested, adding that Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is a supporter of the idea.
“We mustn’t say ‘the cathedral is closed for five years’ and that’s it,” Chauvet said Thursday.
There is no formal estimate yet for how long the cathedral restoration will take. While France’s President Emmanuel Macron has said that he would like to see restoration completed within five years, experts say that possibility is extremely unlikely.
Nearly one billion euro have been pledged to the restoration effort.
While the images of the cathedral’ exterior suggested nearly total devastation after the fire, inside the cathedral’s vaulted stone ceiling mostly held, and protected many of the cathedral’s religious and historical treasures from the flames.
The cathedral’s famed rose windows, its bell towers and massive bells, and its organ were all intact after the fire. The Church’s most important religious items were spared from the fire: the Eucharist, and relics of Christ’s crown of thorns and cross were saved during the fire.
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