Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris to hold first mass since fire

A view of the cross and sculpture of Pieta by Nicolas Coustou in the background of debris inside Notre-Dame de Paris, in the aftermath of a fire that devastated the cathedral. REUTERS/Christophe Petit Tesson

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The Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris is to host its first mass on Saturday, exactly two months after the devastating blaze that felled the steeple and ravaged the roof. It will take place at 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) in the Chapel of the Virgin on the cathedral’s east side, which has been confirmed as safe.

The mass will be celebrated by Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit in the presence of around 30 people, half of them clergy. Worshippers will be expected to don hard hats but priests will be wearing their ceremonial garb.

Aupetit will be joined by the rector of Notre-Dame, Patrick Chauvet, canons, volunteers, people working on the restoration as well a handful of lay worshippers.

The mass will be broadcast live on Catholic TV channel KTO.

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.

The date is “highly significant, spiritually,” Chauvet told AFP, adding he was happy to be able to show that “Notre-Dame is truly alive”.

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