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Pope asks St. Michael’s protection of France as Notre Dame reconstruction begins


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 09/30/21

A cutting of one of the many oaks to be used for the cathedral was presented to Pope Francis.

On the September 29 feast of the holy archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Pope Francis asked Saint Michael to take special care of France.

He offered this petition during the general audience that day, where he was presented with an oak cutting, representing the reconstruction of Notre Dame cathedral.

“I ask Saint Michael, protector of France, to watch over your country, to keep it faithful to its roots, and to lead your people on the paths of ever greater unity and solidarity,” declared the Argentine pontiff.

A symbol of Christian roots

A delegation of six French senators from the France-Holy See group attended the general audience. At the end of his catechesis, the Pope greeted them briefly.

As he had planned, the president of this friendship group, Senator Dominique de Legge, gave the pontiff a piece of an oak cut for the reconstruction of the framework of Notre-Dame de Paris.

“I told him that it was a symbol of the Christian roots of France and also of renewal for our country,” the senator told  I.Media. “He was very smiling, and seemed moved by this initiative,” he continued.

He took the opportunity to invite Pope Francis to the reopening of the Paris cathedral, scheduled for 2024. To this, the head of the Catholic Church did not give an answer.

Plans are that the cathedral will be rebuilt as it was prior to the 2019 fire.

As many as 1,000 oak trees were selected from across France for the frame of the transept and spire. Some of these trees are as many as 60 feet tall, planted hundreds of years ago for ships.

FrancePope Francis
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