HOUSTON, Texas - As many come to grips with the terrible fire that destroyed parts of the Notre Dame Cathedral, local Houstonians with ties to France talked to FOX 26 about their reactions to this tragedy.
Alexis Andres, the General Consul of France in Houston, tells us, “Some parts of Notre Dame have been destroyed some. I’ve just heard that some of the most beautiful glass windows, they’re famous rose, some of them have exploded in the heat, but what we know is that you cannot just lose the church. The church is still there.This is Notre Dame, so Notre Dame is not lost. Notre Dame will be renovated.”
The notable spire burned down, and some of the infamous stained glass windows have been destroyed. The good news is that no one has been seriously injured, and that the structure of the cathedral still stands.
In 2013, the cathedral celebrated 850 years. Notre Dame gets millions of vistors every year, but this disaster happening during Holy Week will be tough for Catholics around the world to cope with. It is one of the most famous monuments of France and was currently undergoing restoration when the fire started.
“Cathedrals burned all the time in the middle ages. Okay, they had devastating fires, it’s a terrible thing. They were often times almost always rebuilt, and I can’t imagine that the French won’t do whatever it takes to rebuild Notre Dame," said Randall Smith, a professor with the University of Saint Thomas.
He also spent some time in France. Another faculty member of Saint Thomas spent 10 years as a tour guide at the cathedral, and even gave mass there. Father Ted Baenziger tells us the moments he heard Notre Dame was on fire.
“I felt a very strong knot in my stomach. Real dismay, that a place that I loved and cherished was in great difficulty, but at the end, when we finished speaking about it and watching, I said, 'Well, it’s only a building, and they will rebuild.'"
It’s still too early to know the exact cause of the fire, and how long it will take to rebuild the cathedral, but donations for the reconstruction are starting to come in.