He is Risen-He is truly Risen! That phrase is one of the most ancient greetings, in use since the first century, spoken by Catholics of the church founded directly by apostolic preaching. It is humbling to realize that we carry on the mission of Christ and are still bound to him by tradition and apostolic succession. I love history, especially of our church, and I also love the French language and culture. I was fortunate in being able to study in Paris as a young man in the 80s. I was even more fortunate to return to Paris 20 years later as a priest, to serve at the Cathedral of Paris— Notre Dame [“Our Lady”]. I served there for two summers in order to give the resident priests a chance to take a welldeserved vacation. I was privileged to live in a 15th century house beside Notre Dame, and to have a key to the Clergy entrance on the side. I have been often in Notre Dame in the early morning when it was practically empty, and said mass at both the new altar which was destroyed and at the high altar which survived unscathed. I have prayed countless rosaries there in the reservation chapel all the way in the back. I have stood holding the Crown of Thorns for veneration as a huge throng approached in awe and reverence.
To watch this magnificent church burn was heartrending. Thanks be to God, most of the church was spared. I am sure it was a favor granted us by Our Lady/Notre Dame in answer to much fervent prayer. Our Faith is strong and resilient. Our Lord has entrusted us with the mission of carrying it on and passing it on. Please do your part by being constant in prayer, daily and especially by assisting at Holy Mass prayerfully and devotedly.
Don’t forget to offer the St Michael Prayer daily. A Statue of St Michael stands at the heart of Paris, looking across the River Seine toward Notre Dame. I took the picture shown here on one of my visits to Paris. Our bishop has asked us to say this prayer, because of its power and its focus.
Please do take it to heart and offer it in union with your bishop and your Church.