People pray in front of Notre Dame Cathedral April 16, 2019. Photo by Paul Haring, Catholic News Service

In a letter to the Archbishop of Paris, the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has expressed sympathy to the people of Paris following the devastating fire at the city's iconic Cathedral of Notre Dame. The text follows: 

His Excellency the Most Rev. Michel Aupetit
Archbishop of Paris
10, rue du Cloître-Notre-Dame
75004 Paris

Your Excellency,

My brother Bishops and I share with you and all the faithful of your Archdiocese our sympathies and prayers following the major damage that occurred in the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral yesterday, Monday 15 April 2019. The extensive damage to the interior, spire and roof of this amazing building is a terrible loss to the cultural heritage of your city, your country and Western civilization.

We are at the same time confident that the devotion, generosity and Catholic faith of the People of God which inspired the construction of this Cathedral and made it so admired, loved and reverenced over the centuries as an eloquent expression of Christendom, will transform this moment of sorrow into an Exsultet of paschal hope and trust.

May this Holy Week and its annual commemoration of death and new life bring comfort and solace for all who share this loss, and lead to a renewed and deeper trust in the creativity and power of the saving work of the Lord among us.

Fraternally in Christ the Good Shepherd,

+Lionel Gendron, P.S.S.
Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil