Notre Dame to hold today first Mass since devastating fire

Due to safety concerns, however only 20 people would be allowed to enter the landmark building

Notre Dame will hold its first Mass since a devastating fire broke out in the cathedral in April, destroying the structure's spire, parts of the roof and vault. According to an announcement by city's diocese Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit will lead the small Mass, which will mark the anniversary of the dedication of cathedral's altar, celebrated annually on June 16.

"May all those who have mobilized since April 15 and all those who continue to work every day for Notre Dame, be they donors, architects, construction workers, political leaders, be warmly thanked for their efforts," Aupetit said in a statement.

Due to security reasons, however, the Mass will take place this evening in a "side chapel with a restricted number of people," with only 20 people expected to take part. In addition, they would be required to wear hardhats for safety. Still, AFP assured that he Mass will be broadcast by a French television channel so other worshipers can watch live.

As Europost reminds, the devastating fire that broke out on April 15 destroyed Notre Dame's iconic spire and reduced its ancient wooden roof to ash. However, photos from inside the cathedral showed its cross and altar apparently still intact.

In response to the tragic events, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the of the 850-year-old landmark. In an address to the nation after the devastating blaze, Macron said he wanted it done within five years.
The reconstruction process however is likely to take decades to be completed as well as billions of dollars invested. Shortly after the fire, French billionaires and donors around the world had pledged more than $1bn to rebuild the cathedral. But a spokesman for the cathedral told CBS that this might not be enough to cover it. 

"We don't know if it's enough or not," Andre Finot told CBS News' Roxana Saberi. "You can say it's crazy to have a billion euros but we don't know. Maybe the cost is two or three billion."

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