When I first visited it, the Cathedral of Notre Dame was bathed in sunset. It was the festival of St. Michel during the summer of 1978, and symphony orchestras played under massive tents throughout the plazas of Paris. A Jesuit friend, Joe Devlin (Fr. Joseph Devlin, S.J.), and I walked through the city dumbstruck. The cathedral doors were open; organ music beckoned and Mass was about to begin. It was one of those miracles that thrill the faithful, when a concatenation of unexpected events makes one realize, “God is here.” The statue of Notre Dame de Paris shone serene. We sat opposite her in the north pseudotransept (near where Napoleon was crowned emperor), across from the south rose window, which, bathed by the sun, glowed in ruby, sapphire, amber and ultramarine colors. The two priests began the liturgy, a dark-haired junior and a white-maned senior celebrant. The younger priest welcomed the congregation in French, English, Italian and German. We were about to pray in the center of the European Catholic universe.
Link (here) to read the full article by Fr. Dennis McNally, S.J. at America the Jesuits magazine.
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