Priests wear hard hats in first mass in Notre Dame since fire

Photo of Priests wear hard hats in first mass in Notre Dame since fire
It was held exactly two months after the fire (Picture: AP)

The first mass has been held in Notre Dame cathedral since April’s devastating fire, with priests wearing hard hats for safety.

Only around 30 people could attend the service as the structure is still fragile.

It was held exactly two months after flames ripped through the Gothic church, claiming the building’s spire but leaving the twin bell towers intact.

Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit held the mass yesterday in a chapel behind the choir, a place confirmed by construction experts as safe.

For security reasons, only about 30 people – mainly priests, canons and church employees – were admitted inside the cathedral for the service.

Some of the construction workers helping to rebuild the church were also allowed to attend.

The Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit (C) poses with other members of the clergy (Picture: Getty)
Michel Aupetit, Archbishop of Paris speaks during the first Mass in a side chapel (Picture: AP)
The cathedral’s rector Patrick Chauvet speaks during the mass two months to the day after a devastating fire (Picture: Getty)
Thirty white hard hats are placed on a table outside the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, as clergy and worshippers arrive for the service (Picture: Getty)
For safety reasons, the mass was celebrated on a very small scale, but was streamed live on the internet (Picture: AFP)
People could watch the service online (Picture: Getty)

Others outside could watch the mass live on a Catholic TV station streamed online.

French Culture Minister Franck Riester said this week that the cathedral remains in a ‘fragile’ state, especially its vaulted ceiling, which is still at risk of collapsing.

Footage showed some burnt wood still in the church but a famous statue of the Virgin and Child appeared intact behind wooden construction planks.

The annual Dedication Mass commemorated the cathedral’s consecration as a place of worship.

‘This cathedral is a place of worship, it is its very own and unique purpose,’ Mr Aupetit said.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Julien Mattia/Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA/REX (10205516b) Flames engulf the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The fire has caused part of the historic church's spire to collapse as the blaze has spread along its roof. Fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, France - 15 Apr 2019
The fire caused part of the historic church’s spire to collapse (Picture: Rex)
TOPSHOT - A picture shows rubble and the cross at the altar inside the the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral after it sustained major fire damage the previous month, during a visit by the Canadian prime minister in Paris on May 15, 2019. - The April 15, fire destroyed the roof and steeple of the 850-year-old Gothic cathedral. Images of the ancient cathedral going up in flames sparked shock and dismay across the globe as well as in France, where it is considered one of the nation's most beloved landmarks. (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / POOL / AFP)PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images
Rubble and the cross at the altar inside the the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral after it sustained major fire damage (Picture: Getty)
It took more than 12 hours to extinguish the inferno (Picture: AP)
Firefighters inspect Notre Dame Cathedral after the giant fire was put down (Picture: PA)

One French priest called the service ‘a true happiness, full of hope’.

‘We will rebuild this cathedral,’ Father Pierre Vivares said.

‘It will take time of course – a lot of money, lot of time, lot of work – but we will succeed.

‘Today it’s a small but a true victory against the disaster we have had.’

It is still unclear when the cathedral will reopen to the public.

French President Emmanuel Macron has set a goal of rebuilding it in just five years, which many experts consider unrealistic.

In the meantime, the French parliament is debating amendments to a new law that would create a public body to expedite the restoration of the cathedral and circumvent some of France’s complex labour laws.

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