(ZENIT News / Paris, 12.13.2023).- Emmanuel Macron extended an invitation to the Pope to be present at the reopening of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, whose completion of restoration work is expected on December 8, 2024. This December, the French president inspected the works and responded to the France 2 television network, stating that the doors of France are always open to the Pope: “In any case, we will invite him,” he indicated.
There is still one year remaining for the reconstruction of the Parisian cathedral, which was set ablaze on April 15, 2019, to be completed. The French president climbed to the spire, topped by the cross over the transept at a height of 96 meters, where the rooster is missing, a national symbol of identity for the French: the rooster was first used in the Middle Ages as a symbol of hope and faith, reaffirmed as a sign for all of France during the Renaissance and the Baroque.
“Since April 2019, the entire nation has been rebuilding,” commented the president. “And it is very moving to be here a year before. You can see the extraordinary progress of the works in this nave, the choir, the frames, and the spire,” he added.
Macron fondly remembered General Jean-Louis Georgelin, the supervisor of the reconstruction, who passed away in August. Georgelin’s name was engraved on the wood of the spire by a craftsman to commemorate the general’s contribution to the cathedral.
The president’s wife, Brigitte Macron, toured the excavations of the French National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research, as archaeologists discovered a 13th-century skeleton.
Macron also announced a competition for the design of six new stained glass windows in some chapels of the cathedral, commemorating the restoration after the fire. The old stained glass windows from the time of Viollet-le-Duc will be displayed in a new museum of Notre Dame, located nearby. The old rooster will also be exhibited in the museum: it stood atop the cathedral, survived the fire, but was deformed by the heat and the fall.
The invitation to Pope Francis was also extended in March of this year by Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris.