As Notre Dame Cathedral was burning yesterday, I mentioned that I hoped the Blessed Sacrament, or the Eucharist had been saved from the fire.
Well it turns out that the Blessed Sacrament, as well as the Crown of Thorns and other holy relics, were indeed saved by a priest who serves as chaplain of the fire brigade in Paris.
In fact he and the firefighters formed a human chain to ensure the safety of these items.
— Etienne Loraillère ن (@Eloraillere) April 15, 2019
Here’s more from CBS News:
Paris’s Deputy Mayor for Tourism and Sports, Jean-Francois Martins told “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday that he and others on the scene jumped into action to salvage the trove of art and artifacts housed in Notre Dame Cathedral as a devastating fire engulfed the ancient building the previous evening.
“We made a human chain, with our friends from the church… to get, as quick as possible, to get all the relics,” he said, noting that the Crown of Thorns believed to have been worn by Jesus Christ on the cross was among the items rescued.
“Thanks to the great bravery of all our firefighters, and as well all the public servants there, we had a very quick intervention. Very quickly a team was fully dedicated to save all these holy pieces, and specifically the relics and the crown,” Martins said. “Everything is safe and undamaged, and in our really bad day, we had one good news.”
Britain’s Sky News and other outlets reported, meanwhile, that the man at the hot end of the human chain, who quickly located the most iconic of relics — the Crown of Thorns and the Blessed Sacrament — was Father Jean-Marc Fournier, Chaplain of the Paris Fire Department.
French Catholic news network KTO editor Etienne Loraillere said on Twitter that Fournier, “went with the firefighters into Notre Dame Cathedral to save the Crown of Thorns and the Blessed Sacrament.”
Philippe Goujon, the Mayor of Paris’ 15th district, said Fournier insisted on being allowed to enter the burning cathedral with his fellow firefighters, and played a role in the relic’s rescue.
According to KTO, Father Fornier was previously a military chaplain who served in Afghanistan, but more recently he comforted victims of the terror attack on the Bataclan theater in Paris in 2015.
French Culture Minister Franck Riester told reporters in Paris on Tuesday that all the art and artifacts rescued from the cathedral would be transferred to another Parisian landmark, the Louvre Museum, for safe keeping.
You can watch the interview with the deputy mayor from CBS This Morning below:
It is of great comfort to many that Fournier and the other firefighters and public servants risked their lives to ensure the safety of the Blessed Sacrament and the other holy relics.
Consider for a moment that it was the roof that was on fire and could have quickly collapsed in on them.
Such bravery has been seen in the history of the church and these men, especially Fournier, will be added to that list of heroes.
Lastly I would note that in the past Fournier didn’t just comfort the victims in the Bataclan theater. The NY Post indicates he prayed for those what died in the massacre, which is indeed very comforting.
Here’s a few daylight photos of the Cathedral from today: