Paris: A small congregation of worshippers in protective headgears, led by Archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, offered prayers at Notre-Dame Cathedral on Saturday in the first Mass since the Gothic landmark was devastated by a fire in April.
The solemn ceremony was held in the Chapel of the Virgin and broadcast live by a Catholic channel via Youtube. The Mass was attended by a group of around 30 people due to the safety concerns, reported The New York Times.
During the ceremony, the Archbishop made only oblique references to the disaster, saying, “Those who are working on the construction tell me of their enthusiasm.” He compared their fervor to that of the original builders of the cathedral in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The cathedral is undergoing reconstruction, with about 150 people working at the site.
Donations for the rebuilding the cathedral continue to come in, though only a fraction of the USD 950 million pledged has been received.
Most of these funds are to be used to restore the 850-year-old French Gothic architecture, according to the Archdiocese.
A senior church official on Saturday said that a French tycoon who had pledged to donate millions for the reconstruction work has not donated “a cent” so far, reported Sputnik.
In a televised address on Friday, French Culture Minister Franck Riester said that the cathedral was still “in a fragile state,” considering that its vault has not yet been secured and could still collapse.
Considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, Notre-Dame received about 12 million visitors every year. Nearly two-thirds of the roof of the historic landmark was severely damaged by the devastating fire on April 15.