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AFP
June 12, 2019

Notre-Dame of Paris to celebrate first mass since fire

World

AFP
June 12, 2019

PARIS: The Notre-Dame cathedral will host its first mass this weekend since a fire ravaged the Paris landmark almost two months ago, the city’s diocese said on Tuesday.

The mass -- led by Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit -- will be celebrated on a very small scale late on Saturday, the diocese said. It will take place in a "side chapel with a restricted number of people, for obvious security reasons," it said.

Just 20 people are expected to take part, including priests and canons from the cathedral. The event will be broadcast live by a French television channel so that Christians from all over France can participate, the diocese added.

The date has been chosen as it is the anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral’s altar, which is celebrated every year on June 16. President Emmanuel Macron has set an ambitious target of five years for restoring the Notre-Dame, which was gutted by a fire on April 15 that felled its steeple.

The diocese is awaiting a response from the French authorities over whether it can re-open the parvis -- the open space in front of the cathedral -- to the public. If the authorities approve the plan, the idea is to celebrate the evening prayers on the parvis, the diocese said. A temporary structure could be erected there to host worshippers while the cathedral is rebuilt.

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