Parisians head to nearby churches for holy week

France is in a hurry to rebuild the world famous Notre-Dame Cathedral, as young apprentice carpenters such as those training at Les Compagnons du Devoir, hope to be among those chosen for the prestigious task of restoring its centuries-old roof.
Catholics worshipping in Saint-Sulpice Church. It is one of two churches where Catholics in Paris will commemorate holy week, after a fire heavily damaged Notre-Dame Cathedral on Monday. PHOTO: DPA
Catholics worshipping in Saint-Sulpice Church. It is one of two churches where Catholics in Paris will commemorate holy week, after a fire heavily damaged Notre-Dame Cathedral on Monday. PHOTO: DPA

PARIS • With Notre-Dame cathedral heavily damaged by a fire this week, the Archbishop of Paris has advised followers to head to two nearby churches for the holy week and Easter to commemorate the last week of Jesus' life on earth.

"Our Archbishop Michel Aupetit will preside Holy Thursday and Holy Friday celebrations in Saint-Sulpice, including the pastor vigil," Reverend Brice de Malherbe, chaplain of Notre-Dame, told TV news network France 24 on Wednesday.

The holy week this week is the most important period of the Catholic calendar. Catholics in Paris traditionally commemorate Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection in the pews of Notre-Dame at Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday services.

Saint-Sulpice, the largest church in Paris after Notre-Dame, is 1.2km away from the 850-year-old cathedral, which was damaged by a blaze that broke out on Monday.

The Sunday Easter Mass will be held at the Saint-Eustache church 2km away from Notre-Dame.

Rev Malherbe said: "We have about 100 churches in Paris and a certain number of them are large and very beautiful churches too."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2019, with the headline 'Parisians head to nearby churches for holy week'. Print Edition | Subscribe