Like most Christians in the world, I was shocked at the news that the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was on fire. I did not think of it as a French thing but as a Catholic horror story. Now I understand that it is both French and Catholic. It is French because it is an important part of Paris, and it is Catholic because it is a famous cathedral. I imagine that Catholics feel a whole lot like members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would if they were to learn that the Salt Lake Temple was on fire.
My husband and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple. My parents were married there, and my husband’s parents were sealed there. Our grandparents were sealed there, and two of our daughters were married there. It is not only a sacred building for all Church members, but it is part of our personal and family history. I would truly be heartbroken to hear of any damage to it.
I join with millions of other Americans in mourning for the damage to this great cathedral. I join with all concerned to learn that the damage to the building was not as bad as it could have been. I consider that a miracle happened, and I am not the only one to think so.
Some will call it a miracle. According to Notre Dame’s heritage director, only one piece of architecture inside the sacred building has been damaged.
Laurent Prades told The Associated Press that the high altar, which was installed in 1989, was hit and harmed by the cathedral’s spire when it came crashing down in the flames. “We have been able to salvage all the rest,” said Prades, who witnessed the recovery first hand overnight.
“All the 18th-century steles, the pietas, frescoes, chapels and the big organ are fine,” he said. Among the most famous elements inside the cathedral, Prades added that the three large stained-glass rose windows have not been destroyed, though they may have been damaged by the heat and will be assessed by an expert.
French President Emmanuel Macron says that the cathedral will be rebuilt in five years and be even more beautiful when finished. Millions of dollars have been pledged to restore the magnificent building. I join millions of other people in wishing the best results possible.