NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New Yorkers say they’re keeping Paris in their prayers following Monday’s devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced One World Trade Center’s spire will be lit in the colors of the French flag Tuesday night in solidarity with the people of France and the Catholic community.
“Our hearts ached as we watched a devastating fire ravage one of the world’s most sacred and celebrated religious monuments. The Notre Dame Cathedral’s centuries of history, art and iconic architecture are irreplaceable, and we are deeply grateful to the brave first responders who worked diligently to extinguish the flames and save portions of this significant piece of French and Catholic history,” he said in a statement. “New York stands in solidarity with the people of France and Catholics worldwide who are mourning this tremendous loss.”
The Empire State Building will also light its spire in blue, white and red tonight.
“I first saw the beautiful cathedral when I was 14 years old on a Boy Scout pilgrimage to Europe. I was born in Newark, New Jersey and lived across the street from its Sacred Heart Cathedral. I personally feel sorrow that a cathedral, a great place of prayer and pilgrimage, was so severely damaged,” said Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn. “We give thanks to God for the firefighters who so bravely battled the devastating fire. And we look toward the future as this great Cathedral of Notre-Dame is rebuilt.”
The iconic house of worship that stood for centuries as the centerpiece of the City of Lights was badly damaged in just a matter of hours during the start of Holy Week.
One firefighter and two police officers were injured, but amazingly no one was killed. Much of Notre Dame’s structure and its priceless relics were spared, as well.
The collective voices of thousands filled the city streets outside the beloved landmark, where kings and emperors have been crowned and the faithful have prayed.
“Notre Dame is not just a building, it’s the beating heart of Paris,” Paris resident Agathe Perreau said.
Watching the piece of history perish on the start of Holy Week sat heavy on the hearts of many around the world, including here in New York.
“I can only imagine what it would do to all of us if a fire struck St. Patrick’s. We would all sense that there was a fire in our home, because that’s what a cathedral really is – it’s a spiritual home where people go in moments of tears and in moments of smiles,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
Parishioners and tourists flocked to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for evening mass, saying Paris was in their prayers.
“I can’t find words for this, I don’t know,” one woman said.
“This one just breaks my heart. So I came inside, I came to St. Patrick’s to pray for what’s happening in Pairs,” said Patrick Pazmino.
Hundreds of firefighters spent hours battling the cathedral blaze, which ravaged two thirds of the roofing and toppled the iconic spire. The flames were finally put out Tuesday morning.
At this point, the fire is being considered accidental. Investigators are looking into whether it may have been linked to a major renovation project.