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St. Louis residents react to fire at Notre Dame Church while sharing fond memories of visit

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ST. LOUIS - Images from the burning of the Notre Dame Church in Paris had a lot of people in St. Louis talking and reminiscing about the time they spent making memories at the iconic monument.

French teacher and executive director Isabelle Heidbreder with Alliance Française talked about that time from her childhood years while looking at a sketch of the church hanging on her classroom wall.

 “One of the first memory is how big it was,” Heidbreder said.

 Monday night, she along with some of her students couldn’t help but reminisce what it was like to have visited and personally seen such a historic structure in their lifetime.

 “They had a large nativity scene that was set up,” Heidbreder continued, “and I remember every time we would go to Notre Dame, that was a must.”

 Heidbreder said that as soon as she heard about the fire, she called her sister in Paris. She describes, both of them being in shock as they watched the horror unfold on TV together, looking at the same images.

 “Both my sister and I said ‘You know, we are actually feeling almost physical pain watching this,”’ Heidbreder said.

Renee Michelson of Ladue is one of Heidbreder’s students. She shared with FOX 2 some pictures and videos she captured from the church when she went back to visit for the fourth time, in 2015.

 “I’m not Catholic but the church just becomes almost universal to be able to go in and share the feeling and the art and the architecture,” said Michelson. “I cannot completely tell you because it’s just very moving to see the grandiose of the church itself.”

FOX 2/News 11 also inquired with the Archdiocese of St. Louis asking whether the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis on Lindell Boulevard would remain intact if it were to ever catch fire. They tell us, the church would be fine because the structure is made up mostly of granite, brick and cement mortar, marble and mosaic tile. The only wood structure inside are the pews. 


Archbishop Robert J.Carlson Statement on Notre Dame Cathedral Fire

Update on Basilica of St. Louis, King of France Repairs

ST. LOUIS – The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, is deeply saddened by today’s devastating fire that has engulfed the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. Archbishop Carlson and the Archdiocese of St. Louis share in the world ’s prayers for Archbishop Michel Christian Alain Aupetit and the faithful of Paris.

“The Archdiocese of St. Louis joins the world community in offering prayers for the people of France. The influence of the French faithful on the St. Louis community is well known. Our own Basilica of St. Louis, King of France is representative of that historical link we have with the French community. Our hearts are with the firefighters and with the caretakers of the magnificent Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. We ask for the intercession of Mary, Mother of God and look to the promise of Easter hope and new life in the midst of this difficult loss.”

Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson

Archbishop of St. Louis

The Archdiocese of St. Louis is currently working to repair the damage done to the Old Cathedral by this weekend’s storms. Work on a permanent underlayment for a new roof began today. The plaster ceiling which represents the recent reconstruction that was done on the Old Cathedral is being inspected for further damage. All services at the Cathedral are canceled until the safety of the ceiling is secured. The Archdiocese is working with the National Park Service to ensure a replacement roof that respects the historical architecture of the Cathedral.

If you have any questions please direct them to Peter Frangie, Executive Director of Strategic Communications and Planning

Bishop Paprocki: Pictures of Notre Dame Cathedral are heartbreaking

Springfield, IL – Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois issued the following statement in response to a fire destroying Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris:

“It is heartbreaking to see the pictures of one the most beautiful and historic churches in the world going up in flames. Notre Dame Cathedral is more than a church – it’s a world-wide iconic symbol of our Catholic faith. My thoughts and prayers are with Catholics around the world who love Notre Dame Cathedral and have lasting memories there, the people of France, and the first responders. While the church may be destroyed, I believe in the faith and perseverance of the people of Paris and the world who will rise up and help this community rebuild.”

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