PARIS - France commemorated Good Friday without the Notre Dame Cathedral for the first time in hundreds of years, but not without the choir, officiants and most-important relic.
The “Way of the Cross” procession, tells the story of the day many believe Jesus was crucified, included Notre Dame church officials and the crown of thorns, the diocese said.
“It’s very strong for us because we know really that Christ, the signification of his life, and his death, his resurrection,” said Parisian Antoine Le Sur, who is Catholic.
“France is very, very far from Christ today. But with this,” Le Sur said, referring to the Notre Dame fire, “all the eyes of France are here, and the heart, too. It’s incredible.”
Many like Le Sur have said they believe the devastating fire reminded many French people, and others, of their Christian roots, and the spiritual value of the cathedral and relics.
The Notre Dame choir and officiants commemorated Good Friday services at Saint Sulpice cathedral nearby, where more than a thousand parishioners packed inside.
“Very powerful, very moving,” said Heather Rendele, from Atlanta, who, like many who attended mass, didn’t know they would see the crown of thorns there.
“I loved seeing the line of people just waiting to pay their respects,” she said. “People from all over the world, all ages, gathered because of one thing, and that is, you know, Christ.”
“It was a bit strange because I’m not used to going to this church,” said Parisian Alexis Menard, who usually attends Notre Dame. But it was also the same, in a way.
“It’s an act of faith,” Menard said. “Coming to pray, and to just kneel in front of the glory of God that I like to see in everybody.”
The Notre Dame choir and officiants will participate in Saturday services at Saint Sepulice, and at another nearby cathedral on Easter.
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