Live-stream will unite world’s pandemic suffering with Passion of Christ in church that burned one year ago.
For a world that is suffering the pain of illness and death, Paris’ Cathedral of Notre-Dame, which was almost destroyed in fire a year ago, will offer a glimpse of Christ’s Crown of Thorns, a prized relic it has kept in the church for almost eight centuries.
The archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, said in a press conference Tuesday that he will lead a Good Friday meditation featuring the Crown of Thorns in an event broadcast on television and internet.
“When Mary is at the foot of the cross, she knows that from the most absolute evil God can always draw a much greater” good, Archbishop Aupetit said.
The broadcast of the event can be viewed on the website of France’s Catholic television station, KTO, on Good Friday, April 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Paris time.
Also participating will be Msgr. Patrick Chauvet, rector of Notre-Dame, and Auxiliary Bishop Denis Jachiet. French actors Philippe Torreton and Judith Chemla will read texts by Charles Péguy, Paul Claudel, and St. Teresa of Calcutta.
The archbishop had originally planned to have a street procession with the relic in Paris, he said. But because Paris has been locked down since March 17 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was moved to the apse behind Notre-Dame’s Pietà. France has been one of the hardest hit countries during the pandemic, with 77,226 infections and 10,313 deaths as of Wednesday, according to the World Health Organization.
King Louis IX deposited the relics of the passion of Christ, which included the crown of thorns, a nail from the cross and a sliver of the cross, which he had purchased at great expense from the Latin Emperor Baudouin II, in the cathedral in 1239, during the construction of the Sainte-Chapelle.
During the horrific fire that engulfed the cathedral on April 15, 2019, Fr. Jean-Marc Fournier, a chaplain for the Paris fire department, rushed into the church to retrieve the Blessed Sacrament and the historic relics, including the crown of thorns.
In the past, the cathedral displayed the crown for veneration each Friday during Lent and on Good Friday. The tradition was moved to Paris’ Church of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois this year as Notre-Dame remains closed to the public following the blaze.