Notre Dame celebrates first Mass since devastating April fire

Notre Dame celebrates first Mass since devastating April fire

Worshippers won't be authorized in the cathedral but can watch the Mass on a Catholic TV station that is broadcasting the service.

Church leaders have been keen to show life goes on at the cathedral as donations to help rebuild it trickle in.

Saturday's mass, which commemorates the cathedral's consecration as a place of worship, is due to be held at 5pm local time in a side-chapel.

The Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit leads the first mass in a side chapel, two months after a devastating fire engulfed the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral.

Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit, who led the ceremony, was joined by the rector of Notre-Dame, Patrick Chauvet, canons, volunteers, people working on the restoration, as well as a handful of lay worshippers.

Most of the funds for the cathedral's restoration are now coming from American and French individuals, via Notre Dame charitable foundations, paying the bills and salaries for up to 150 workers employed by Notre Dame since an April 15 fire, ABC News reported.

Almost $1 billion was pledged for Notre Dame's reconstruction by wealthy individuals, business leaders and other donors, but the French government said that so far under 10 percent of the pledged funds have been received.

French Minister of Culture Franck Riester that only 9% of the $955 million in donations that had been promised to Notre Dame's reconstruction had actually been received, according to Agence France-Press.

"It is with much emotion that we are here to celebrate the consecration of the cathedral", said Paris's archbishop Michel Aupetit, who led the service. "It is a message of hope and thanks to all those who were moved by what happened to this cathedral".

President Emmanuel Macron has set an ambitious target of five years for restoring Notre-Dame, which was gutted by a fire on April 15 that felled its steeple and consumed the lattice of beams supporting the roof.

Olivier de Challus, one of the cathedral's chief guides and architecture experts, said that one of the reasons the rich French donors haven't yet paid up is that there are still so many uncertainties about the direction of the construction work.

"The president was right to give a target, an ambition".

The French government says it hopes to finish rebuilding work in about five years and that it will hold an global contest to redesign the spire.

It is still unclear when the cathedral will reopen to the public.

The damaged cathedral. fix work is underway, but it expected to take years.

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