Notre Dame Cathedral expected to reopen one year from today — By: Catholic News Agency

French President Emmanuel Macron, flanked by president of the public establishment “Rebuilding Notre-Dame de Paris” Philippe Jost (right) and and Archbishop of Paris Laurent Ulrich (left), visits the nave of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral during its reconstruction on Dec. 8, 2023. / Credit: SARAH MEYSSONNIER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

CNA Staff, Dec 8, 2023 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

One year from today, France’s Notre Dame Cathedral is expected to reopen after a fire in 2019 nearly destroyed the famous landmark. 

French President Emmanuel Macron, accompanied by Paris’ Archbishop Laurent Ulrich, visited the newly built spire on Friday, Dec. 8, and pledged that the reconstruction would be completed on schedule.

“Deadlines will be met. It is a formidable image of hope and of a France that has rebuilt itself,” Macron said. “This is an important and emotional moment.”

Speaking to restoration workers, he added: “We have seen this seemingly impossible project move forward.”

The historic spire, which stood 315 feet tall, crashed through the centuries-old roof in the devastating fire that broke out on April 15, 2019. After several years, the spire once again made its reappearance in the skyline last month.

The spire was not part of the original design of the cathedral. It was added during a restoration in the 19th century by architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. Since the fire, the spire has been rebuilt identical to the original and its cross was mounted on Wednesday, Dec. 6. A new rooster will follow soon.

Nearly 500 workers are on site daily working to complete the reconstruction. Beginning in early 2024, they will start waterproofing the oak with lead. The cathedral’s furnishings, statues, and artwork, as well as the organ, which was taken out for a complete restoration, will be brought back in throughout the year. 

Macron also announced a contest for artists to design six new stained-glass windows for the nave’s south side chapels.

While renovation work on the exterior will continue for several more years, it is expected that Notre Dame will be able to welcome religious services and visitors on Dec. 8, 2024.

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