Brooklyn Diocese’s French Ministry Speak About Notre Dame Fire

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Queens, NY, World News

By Emily Drooby

With the massive blaze at Notre-Dame finally out, the focus is now on rebuilding and recovering.

In the Brooklyn Diocese, the aftermath of the devastating fire is hitting the parish of St. Paul and St. Agnes in Cobble Hill especially hard because of their booming French population and weekly French Mass.

Father Paul Anel heads the Diocese’s French ministry, he was devastated after hearing the news.

Father Anel said, “Complete disbelief, I mean, you would never think this is such a dear building, such an old building.”

While he’s from France, Father Anel is now thousands of miles away at Divine Mercy in Williamsburg, where he’s assigned part-time.

Just one day after the fire, he prays at the foot of a statue of the Virgin Mary, to whom the Notre-Dame Cathedral is consecrated.

Father Anel said the fire, specifically the Cathedral’s fallen spire, could be a sign from God.

He explained, “The fact that the spire fell, because the spire is what points to Heaven. I think, it’s also a wake-up call for us priests and for the church, that our mission is to point to Heaven. We’re a little bit too concerned about this Earth and teaching people how to live well and how to be in harmony and at peace. God’s telling us don’t forget this is your mission, you’re about preparing people for eternity.”

He’s not alone when it comes to finding greater meaning in the fire. Father Alex Morard, the Parochial Vicar at St. Paul and St. Agnes says, to him, the fire was symbolic.

Father Morard, said, “It’s recalling me to conversion, to stick to the law, to look for deeper faith, to reconsider how I am living this relationship with the Lord, with others.

Both priests are inspired by how the world has come together to mourn and move forward.

With the focus now on the future, many here are hopeful that with strong support and fundraising, the historic landmark will eventually be restored.