PARIS – Any other Good Friday, tens of thousands of believers and others would pack Notre Dame square waiting for hours to enter the cathedral, where holy relics are displayed for the weekend.
Instead, the island at the center of Paris, on which Notre Dame sits is inaccessible except to government workers and a few others. But one of the rescued relics, the Crown of Thornes, will be displayed in a procession planned Friday afternoon near the iconic cathedral, Diocese of Paris officials said.
Friday night, the mass that would have been held at Notre Dame, with its choirs and officiants, will be instead held a few miles away at Saint Sulpice church.
On Holy Saturday, a candlelight “Paschal Vigil” will be held at the same location with Notre Dame choirs and officiants at 9:30 p.m. local time.
Easter Mass will be held at St. Eustache near Les Halles, also with Notre Dame masses, choirs and officiants.
Meanwhile, a video from inside Notre Dame, shared by Jean-Philippe Le Trevou on Facebook, and viewed more than five million times so far, shows the gaping holes in the roof and the charred, wet rubble and ash covering part of the cathedral.
“This is a good thing, in a way,” one Catholic Parisian, Antoine Le Sur, told KPRC. “This helps the French and the world remember what is here.”
Le Sur acknowledged that while a majority of France may consider themselves Christian, many surveys have shown that France is among if not the most secular nation in the world in terms of religious worship.
Le Sur said he believed the renewed focus on Notre Dame, the “soul of France,” will light the flame of faith in many who stopped believing.