University of Notre Dame donates $100K to renovation of Paris cathedral

Flames and smoke rise from the blaze at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Thierry Mallet)
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WTHR/AP) — The University of Notre Dame will donate $100,000 toward the renovation of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which was destroyed by a massive fire on Monday.

“We are deeply saddened to see the damage to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, a church whose exquisite Gothic architecture has for centuries raised hearts and minds to God. We join in prayer with the faithful of the cathedral and all of France as they begin the work of rebuilding. We are reminded of the words of our founder, Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin, a French immigrant, who, after a terrible fire destroyed our campus in 1879, said:

‘Tomorrow we will begin again and build it bigger, and when it is built, we will put a gold dome on top with a golden statue of the Mother of God so that everyone who comes this way will know to whom we owe whatever great future this place has.’”

The bells of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus will toll 50 times at 6 p.m. Tuesday, for the reconstruction of the historic cathedral, "representing the 50 Hail Marys of Our Lady’s rosary."

The cathedral burned for 12 hours, destroying the spire and the roof but spared its twin medieval bell towers, and a frantic rescue effort saved the monument's "most precious treasures," including the Crown of Thorns purportedly worn by Jesus, officials said Tuesday.

Also surviving was the Roman Catholic cathedral's famous 18th century organ that boasts more than 8,000 pipes, after a plan to safeguard the masterpieces and relics was quickly put into action after the fire broke out Monday. Statues removed from the roof for restoration just days ago also were saved.

Authorities consider the fire an accident, possibly as a result of restoration work at the global architectural treasure that survived almost 900 years of tumultuous French history but was devastated in the blaze on the second day of Holy Week.