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Notre-Dame choir to return to fire-damaged cathedral for Christmas concert

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Rome Newsroom, Dec 4, 2020 / 08:30 am (CNA).- Notre-Dame Cathedral choir will return to the damaged cathedral on Christmas Eve to perform a concert that will be broadcast live from Paris.

A year and a half after a fire burned through the spire and roof of Notre-Dame, reconstruction efforts continue on the 850-year-old Gothic cathedral. 

Nearly 200 tons of metal scaffolding on the roof of the cathedral, deformed by the heat of the fire, was successfully removed on Nov. 24 in what was considered a crucial step in ensuring its safe restoration.

The removal of the melted scaffolding on the cathedral’s roof was scheduled to begin in March but was repeatedly delayed due to France’s coronavirus measures.

This Christmas Eve concert will be the first time the choir has returned to the cathedral since the fire. Before April 2019, the choir performed around 60 concerts per year. 

Twenty singers, two soloists, and an organist will perform in an empty Notre-Dame Cathedral on Dec. 24. 

The cathedral’s 8,000 pipe Grand Organ is currently being restored, so a small organ will be brought into Notre-Dame for the Christmas concert.

The concert is only the third event to take place in the cathedral since April 2019. 

In June of that year, the archbishop celebrated Mass inside the cathedral attended by around 30 people wearing hard hats.

On Good Friday this year, Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris displayed the relic of Christ’s crown of thorns for veneration in a live broadcast during France’s coronavirus lockdown. 

The Archdiocese of Paris has created a multidisciplinary team, led by Fr. Gilles Drouin, to oversee the cathedral’s development in a way that will lead future visitors to a deeper understanding of the meaning of the cathedral.

“The project we are building for Notre-Dame must continue this history and make intelligible for our century the faith that led to the building of this masterpiece,” Aupetit said.

“Open to all, according to the correct understanding of the word Catholic, the cathedral has been, and will remain, constant in its raison d’être for eight centuries: the celebration of the Christian mystery.”


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