Remember where you were when you learned that Notre-Dame was in flames?
Since then, a massive reconstruction project has been underway and is apparently on schedule. The head of the construction site, ex-general Jean-Louis Georgelin, sees great progress in construction:
"Thanks to strict planning, we are confident and determined to make the Paris cathedral open to worship and the public again in December 2024."
Examinations of the building's infrastructure have shown that the cathedral's walls have remained stable despite the major fire, as have most of the vaults. The stained glass windows and the large organ, which were spared by the fire, have been thoroughly cleaned, according to Georgelin, and the restoration of the interior is now set to begin. The famous bells of Notre-Dame were also spared by the fire and remain in the bells towers. They were rung on the one-year anniversary of the fire.
Notre-Dame de Paris is the traditional starting point for the annual 3-day, 72-mile pilgrimage to Notre-Dame de Chartres, organized by the group Notre-Dame de Chrétienté. Since the fire, pilgrims have begun their journey from Saint-Sulpice, the second-largest church in Paris. Saint-Sulpice, however, can barely accommodate a fraction of the pilgrims during the Traditional Latin Mass which kicks off the march, and this year's Chartres Pilgrimage will be the largest ever, with some 44,000 feet registered to walk the road to Chartres.
While in Paris for the 2022 Chartres Pilgrimage, Michael Matt, who for 30 years has been the U.S. Coordinator for Notre-Dame de Chrétienté, discovered a brand new monument in Notre-Dame Square: a statue of Our Lady of Victory. (See Michael's real-time reaction to this discovery here)
The new statue, erected in 2021, of Our Lady of Victory (right) in Notre-Dame square
Michael asked a nearby police officer why it had been placed there, and the officer responded:
"She was placed here to ensure that prayers will continue for the total and complete restoration of the cathedral."
True to her role as protectoress of the cathedral, Our Lady of Victory now watches over the reconstruction.
Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, pray for us!
Since the beginning of his 30-year association with the French pilgrimage, Michael Matt has maintained this message: The event is not a place to promote individual apostolates, but rather acts as a promotion of the worldwide Catholic Restoration movement as a whole. It is no exaggeration to say that hundreds of clans from all over the world unite every year on the road to Chartres for this very purpose; Catholic restoration, Catholic counterrevolution in action.
Apart from the fact that some of the best bishops, abbots, and priests in France are Chartres pilgrim veterans–many having walked it every year since they were children–evidence of the Traditional Catholic revival in France–politically as well as spiritually–is not hard to find. Most recently, for example, there is a movement across France to rebuild wayside shrines (so-called "calvaries", oratories, and chapels):
The missionary spirit of young people in France is being rekindled by the surprising success of an association that is restoring wayside crucifixes across the country — and attracting considerable media attention in the process.
SOS Calvaires was founded in 1987 in the Maine-et-Loire department in western France. It sought to bring together people dedicated to preserving the calvaries, oratories, and chapels that dot the French landscape.
The association gained momentum in 2015 when a group of young Catholics, who openly declared themselves “proud of their religion and heritage,” took up the mission under the leadership of Paul Ramé, who runs a carpentry business. The team — whose members are all under 35 years of age — was recently challenged to restore one calvary a month in their region, instead of one or two per year.
But the association’s grand designs do not stop there. It is also moving into education, offering instruction in schools. It sees this as a way to prepare new generations to keep alive the flame of faith and Catholic tradition in France.
In other words, the Catholic restoration of France is moving full steam ahead, with even political figures having been inspired to fight for Catholic France as they walk the road to Chartres.
Whether you can travel to France or not, if you are a traditional Catholic today anywhere in the world, this should resonate with you as a sign of great hope. Join the Catholic clans in spirit this Pentecost weekend, where the theme will be: I will be with you always, even unto the consummation of the world. Along the road to Chartres, this becomes, not just a verse from the Bible, but a statement of the obvious.
Related from RTV — Guardian of Tradition