It’s been almost a year since a fire ravaged the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, and the work to rebuild has been delayed by the social distancing guidelines imposed during the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, the city’s Archbishop held a small Good Friday service in one of the church’s less-damaged parts, offering a message of hope and renewal for a city and world gripped by anxiety.
The world has been “brought down and paralyzed by a pandemic that spreads death,” said Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit. “As we are going to celebrate Easter, we will celebrate life which is stronger than death, love stronger than hate.”
Only seven people attended the service, including French actors Philippe Torreton and Judith Chemla and classical violinist Renaud Capuçon. In a sign of the times, all wore protective suits. Chemla ended the service with a lovely rendition of “Ave Maria” which sounds all the more appropriate for the strange silence and loneliness of the era.