Notre-Dame Cathedral

*Originally this blog post was supposed to be about events during Holy week. With the news yesterday about the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, it seemed more appropriate to write about the tragedy. Notre-Dame is not only one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, but it is also an important site for Catholic’s and Christian’s alike. Let’s give it the attention it deserves.

My first time in Paris was when I was 20 years old. I went with EF Tours – a company that provides tours geared towards students at a reasonable cost. I went with my French class and some fashion students from the college I was attending at the time. It was my first time out of the country and I was excited beyond words. It was a couple of months after the Sex and the City finale so we all had Carrie Bradshaw on our minds – eat at a patisserie, visit museums and see all the sites! The list of sites included the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and of course, Notre-Dame. Check, check and check!

Upon hearing on the news yesterday that the Spire at Notre-Dame was on fire, all I could think about were the priceless artifacts and priceless memories I had in Paris. When you are not certain of how the fire would turn out, you always imagine the worst and then are thankful that you can always say, “at least I was there”. The news has given us hope that all is not lost.

Many ponder, “What makes Notre-Dame so important?” It’s the priceless artifacts, the countless pieces of artwork, the beautiful stain glassed windows, and the heritage of not only the French, but of Catholic’s as well.  It has stood where it is for over 800 years, a fete not easily achieved because of two world wars and the French Revolution. It truly signifies French beauty and history.

The roof and part of the interior were made of wood, which diminished in the fire. Already millions of Euros have been pledged to rebuild the cathedral. Since it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, there is an international appeal for funds to help restore it. If you’d like to make a donations visit Heritage Foundation. All donations are tax deductible and there are no added fees.

Let’s try to keep this Heritage site alive and try to rebuild what was destroyed for future generations. We do not want to “remember when”, but rather “let’s revisit” Notre-Dame in Paris.

Easter Traditions of the Catholic Church

It’s hard to believe, but it’s finally April! I was down the shore this past weekend, and all the flowers were lining the streets and outside of shops. The air was so fragrant that all you could think about is how nice Easter is going to be this year. Easter flowers are just one tradition in the church – there are so many others that are celebrated. Here are just a few Easter traditions of the Catholic Church.

Veiled Images

Starting Palm Sunday many churches use purple cloth to cover religious artwork within the church. All but the Stations of the Cross and stained glass windows are covered. Some parishes even remove all images and works of art all together from the church. This lasts until Easter masses when they are uncovered, except for the crucifixes which are uncovered on Good Friday.

Washing of Feet

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world in the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot to hand him over. So during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. The he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with a towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” John 13 1-7.

This tradition of the washing of the feet takes place every Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday). Since 1955 usually twelve people are asked prior to mass to have their feet washed. They sit in a specified area and the priest and ministers come around and pour water on their feet and then dry them.

Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross is a Good Friday custom that the church is very active with. It depicts fourteen different pictures or scenes from the gospel. It starts with Pilate condemns Jesus to die, and ends with Jesus being placed in the tomb. Often churches present a live version of the Stations with youth groups acting out the scenes.

Check out our blog next week to see some of these events at some of our parishes! You can also locate what is going on at your church through its weekly bulletin! It’s the busy season for the Catholic church, and there is something happening during Holy Week at a church near you!   

Summer Vacation

It’s already the end of May. Mother’s Day has passed, and so has Memorial Day weekend! By this time, the kids have a countdown to the last day of school, and parents are finalizing their vacations and their kid’s summer activities. What’s left to do? Remember your parish during the crazy days of summer.

  • Beach house

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