FAIRBANKS, Alaska Around the world, people are watching in shock and sadness after a fire ravaged the historic catholic Notre Dame Cathedral in France.
Built in the 13th century, Notre Dame is not only known as a religious sanctuary, but also for its intricate architecture and early history.
Many watched as the structure sent ashes into the sky and the landmark Spire, engulfed in flames, fell to the ground.
An investigation is now in place to determine the cause of the fire - but French officials have released a statement that both towers of the Cathedral are "cooling," and that no lives have been lost to the fire so far.
This is all happening as those in the Catholic faith celebrate "Holy Week" - just 5 days before Easter Sunday.
Father Robert Fath, with the Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks, says he and many others mourn today for a piece of history that will never be the same after this tragedy.
“Yeah I think it is doubly heartbreaking for us as Catholics because we certainly mourn with the rest of the world at the loss of you know a piece of our history, European history, French history. But for us as people of faith as well to see a sacred building burning is just heart breaking in itself, But then to have something like Notre Dame burning to the ground, which is so iconic as far as catholic churches go, it makes it that much more difficult. You know the history behind just the building behind the cathedral itself, the stories and the theology that was contained in the architecture and the artwork,” said Fath.
Fath went on to say Bishop Robert Barren who an auxiliary bishop in the Arch Diocese of Los Angeles had actually used Notre Dame in a book called ‘Heaven in Stone and Glass’.
“Where he talks about the sacred geometry and the rose windows and the gargoyles and how when this cathedral was built it was built at a time when people for the most part were illiterate, and so the structure of the church was meant to be a way of explaining the faith and teaching the people their faith through what he says stone and glass,” Fath said.
When asked what his first thoughts were, Father Fath reacted.
“I was shocked. I saw it on social media like I think most of us did. It is a place that has been on a bucket list for me for years, because it is 2nd only to the Vatican in St. Peters as far as churches that people want to go see in their lifetime so now I’ll never have the opportunity to go see that, at least in its original form, so who knows what they will do once the fire is out and they begin the process of figuring out what to do next, even if they rebuild it, it’s still not going to be the same cathedral it was yesterday,” he said.
“We mourn with people around the world with the loss of this, you know treasure, of our history. But we mourn with the people of France as well, especially as we enter into this holiest of weeks for us as Christians. People are coming to France, going to Paris, specifically to be able to worship during holy week at Notre Dame and it’s gone, and it’s got to be difficult for a lot of people to not to be able to be in that icon of our faith on the holiest of weeks,” Said Fath.