MADISON (WKOW) — Religious leaders in Madison joined clergy across the world extending prayers to the people of Paris as the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral burned Monday.
Father Andrew Showers, one of three priests at St. Paul’s University Catholic Center, said he was lucky enough to see the cathedral years ago, while he studied architecture abroad.
“The time it took and the love of the people to pour their hearts and their souls into building this grand and beautiful structure for the glory of God and for worship and for pilgrims coming through the city as well to encounter these things was incredible,” he said.
Watching the church burn on Monday, Showers said he mourned for the art and history lost.
The fire coincides with holy week, a time for the Catholic Church to remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Showers said this season of renewal will include a special prayer for the people of Paris and a prayer to rebuild.
“It fits that narrative too as we kind of die on Good Friday. With Christ there’s great hope and the Christian people are people of great hope that we will rise again just as Christ will,” he said.
Despite the grim scene, Showers said he found hope in images of young people praying and singing outside the cathedral.
“They will remain faithful. It will be difficult because right they will have to go through some rebuilding but at the end of the day they will be strengthened because of it,” he said. “They will be purified and strengthened and built up.”
Several other Catholic churches throughout Madison said they would include special intentions for Paris throughout their masses this week.