TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The Holy Week in the Catholic religions was halted Monday as the world watched the Notre Dame Cathedral go up in flames.
The historic church burned out of control for hours in the heart of Paris. Nearly 5,500 miles away, Tucson Bishop Edward Weisenburger reflected on the “tremendous loss.”
“Churches for us in the Catholic world are not just a place where something sacred happens, the place itself becomes sacred for us," said Bishop Edward Weisenburger, Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson.
“I think it’s a tremendous loss. Not only for the peoples of the world, but the peoples of France and peoples of Paris,” said Bishop Weisenburger. “It’s horrifying to see the flames burn through. But, there’s also a part of me that says, the church is certainly more than our buildings.”
For Bishop Weisenburger, he has hope in healing as the world worries of the blaze at the beloved landmark. The Bishop said he visited the cathedral several times a year when he attended school in Belgium, just about three hours from Paris.
The bishop said the Notre Dame Cathedral was a “church he came to love.”
“Every time I walked in that incredible cathedral, I just intuited a tremendous sense of the sacred there," said Bishop Weisenburger.
Monday afternoon, Bishop Weisenburger led the Chrism Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral. The Chrism Mass is one of the most important liturgies and celebrated around the world in the Roman Catholic religion. All priests of the diocese join in unity with the bishop.
After the mass, Bishop Weisenburger reflected on the timing of the tragedy.
“Every year, Holy Week is a time when we slow everything down and we very intentionally look at every step of our faith,” said Bishop Weisenburger. “I think for this to hit at this time of the year, it reminds us that of all the beautiful gifts we are given in life, the most important one is the Resurrection of Christ.”
French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral. Bishop Weisenburger said he knew the “good faith of the people of Paris and France will rebound tremendously.”
When asked if he had a message to share with the Catholic community, Bishop Weisenburger shared this:
“Our religion is one at it’s very essence that shows, that even the midst of suffering and death, blessings and new life always erupt, so have faith," he said.