One year after the world watched the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris burn, the Archbishop of Paris will display the relic of Christ’s crown of thorns for veneration during a Good Friday broadcast.
“When Mary is at the foot of the cross, she knows that from the most absolute evil God can always draw a much greater one," Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris said in an online press conference on April 7.
“I do not see any meaning in the cathedral fire or the COVID-19 epidemic. On the other hand, I know that God can bring much greater out of the misfortune that strikes us,” he said.
The Good Friday meditation before the crown of thorns will be broadcast live from inside the Notre-Dame Cathedral from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. local time April 9, days before the first anniversary of the fire.
Archbishop Aupetit will lead a meditation on the Passion of Christ inside the cathedral in the apse behind Notre-Dame’s Pietà. He will be joined by Msgr. Patrick Chauvet, rector of Notre-Dame and Auxiliary Bishop Denis Jachiet.
French actors Philippe Torreton and Judith Chemla will read texts by Charles Péguy, Paul Claudel, and St. Teresa of Calcutta, while violinist Renaud Capuçon will provide musical accompaniment.
The archbishop said at the press conference that he had originally planned to have a street procession with the relic in Paris, but this was no longer possible due to the strict coronavirus measures in France.
On Holy Thursday, Aupetit will bless the city of Paris with the Blessed Sacrament at noon from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Montmartre, which overlooks the city.
Under coronavirus quarantine, a priest in Paris blessed his neighbors with a rooftop benediction last week.
— Notre-Dame de Chrétienté (@ndchretiente) April 3, 2020
Paris has been under lockdown since March 17 with all non-essential trips from home banned except for a visit to the grocery store or doctor’s office.
With nearly 100,000 coronavirus cases documented in France, the country’s lockdown measures have been extended until at least April 15, the anniversary of the Notre-Dame fire.
More than 8,900 people have died in France from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.
France’s coronavirus measures have delayed the reconstruction efforts at Notre-Dame de Paris.
The removal of the melted scaffolding on the cathedral’s roof scheduled to begin March 23 cannot take place under the country’s coronavirus measures, according to the French newspaper, Libération.
The scaffolding, which was present on the building prior to the April 15 fire due to restoration work, fused together during the blaze. There are an estimated 551 tons of metal still on top of the cathedral.
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris formerly displayed the crown of thorns for veneration each Friday during Lent at 3 p.m. and all day on Good Friday. This tradition was moved to Paris’ Church of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois this year as the damaged Notre Dame Cathedral remains closed to the public.