Correspondence with Archbishop Aupetit
The following is a letter I sent to Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris after receiving the heartbreaking news of the fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. Below is Archbishop Aupetit’s response.
To the Most Reverend Michel Aupetit,
My brother, Michel,
The people of New York unite with you and the citizens of Paris in sorrow over the devastating fire. We here love Saint Patrick’s, and it is a spiritual home for people of all faiths. Thus can we imagine the sadness of your people as they watch their family home of the soul reduced to ashes. Count on our love, prayers, support, and solidarity. This Holy Week teaches us that, like Jesus, death brings life. Today’s dying, we trust, will bring rising!
Fraternally in Christ,
Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Archbishop of New York
Paris, April 16, 2019
“Comfort, comfort my people, say your God” (Is 40,1). His words of the prophet Isaiah resound strongly in this Holy Week when we accompany the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ by preparing our hearts to the joy of his resurrection. Our Lady, our dear cathedral, witness to so many major events in our country, was destroyed by a frightening fire after so long resisted the vicissitudes of its history. France cries and with her all her friends from all over the world. She is touched to the heart because her stones are the testimony of an invincible hope which, by the talent, the courage, the genius and the faith of the builders, raised this luminous lace of stones, wood and glass. This faith remains ours. It is she who moves the mountains and we will rebuild this masterpiece.
Dear brothers and sisters, dear friends, thank you for all the many signs of friendship and encouragement that come from everywhere. Thank you for the outpouring of solidarity, thank you for the fervent prayer that consoles our heart. Let us take advantage of this emotion so great to live intensely this week so decisive for Christians. Let us find this gift of the Father made to us at our baptism so that we become his children. God remains faithful and will always wait for us to come back to him by stretching out our arms.
We feel that we will not only have to rebuild our cathedral but also rebuild our Church whose face is so wounded. I propose to all persons of good will to put at their window in the night of Easter, a candle, a candle, as we will do in all our churches by beginning the Vigil Pascale by the rite of the new fire. It means that the light illuminates the darkness, that life definitely triumphs over death. Dear brothers and sisters, dear friends, let this tragedy allow our country to find a happy unity so that we can build together what is written on the pediment of our public buildings: fraternity. We believe that it has its origin in the fatherhood of God, source of all love.
+ Michel Aupetit
Archbishop of Paris