The fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris sent shock waves through Catholics and lovers of historic architecture all over. It was a pain felt around the world.

"It is heartbreaking to watch the images on television and the catastrophic fire," said Archbishop Thomas Rodi, Archdiocese of Mobile.

Archbishop Rodi visited the cathedral several times. He said he has vivid memories of the "beauty, magnificence, and grandeur of the church."

"Not only is this a place of faith, a beautiful place of faith in that grand Gothic style with the high arches that is meant to help us lift our hearts up to God," Rodi explained. "It's also just a world treasure, a beautiful work of art more than 800 years old. It's just heartbreaking to see it on fire."

Locally, some people are saying the timing is interesting since it's the beginning of holy week.

"Everybody's celebrating the rising of Christ and it just sort of puts a damper on a great celebration of our Lord and Savior," said Taylor Boggs, a Christian who's visiting Mobile.

Not to be compared to the 800 year old Notre Dame Cathedral, The Cathedral Basilica here in Mobile is our historic treasure. It's almost 170 years old. Rodi said it has seen similar times.

"Just the beautiful windows are probably the most valuable works of arts anywhere in Mobile," Rodi said. "We had a fire here in 1954 that did significant damage and we rebuilt."

He added he believes there's a bigger message in all of this.

"In the final analysis, buildings are not the important thing. Our faith is the most important thing. Buildings can come and go. But the buildings become special to us as a place where we can gather as the people of God and pray together especially when you're surrounded by such beauty but it helps us to remember that the faith goes on despite the buildings," Rodi explained.

Archbishop Rodi said his prayers are with the Archbishop and Archdiocese of France during this difficult time.

All content © 2018, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.  


Toi Thornton is a Reporter. His Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism comes from Dillard University in 2014 and his Master's degree in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University in 2016. He previously worked as the Fox anchor in Lafayette, LA.

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