Mid-Michigan reacts to devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral

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SAGINAW (WJRT) (04/15/2019) - Mid Michigan reacts to Monday's devastating fire that engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

As flames ripped through the beloved icon that held eight centuries of history, we met with folks in Flint and Saginaw with strong connections to the cathedral.

Everyone we talked with, including a student who just returned to SVSU following a study abroad program --to a Catholic priest --had a stories they wanted to share about their experience inside one of the most famous tourists sites in the world.

"My favorite part was the big circle, stained glass windows," said Katie Coon.

When she and her SVSU classmates attended a concert at Notre Dame last month, she had no idea a massive fire would partially destroy the cathedral just six weeks later.

"We're all really sad," Coon said,"the fact that we were actually there, and got to see it in person,"

A beautiful picture, taken during happier times, in July of 2016, during one of Kim Giacchina's visits to Paris.

As an Art Appreciation instructor--the cathedral holds a special place in her heart:

"The grandeur of it when you walk in you feel so small, with these beautiful towers, the sound of your footprints as you walk through that marble, the incense that you smell," she explained, "you feel uplifted out of yourself."

The fire broke out during Holy week, the most important time of the year on the Christian calendar.

Father Thomas Firestone, of St. John Vianney, described the Gothic Cathedral as a living symbol:

"They were built by illiterate people who had magnificent skills," he explained. "They were stories, they were telling the people about their faith, different people, different Saints."

"Joan of Arc was canonized there," he added, "Charles de Gaulle was buried there.."

"There's just no way to replace it," Father Firestone said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild Notre Dame.

While the fire caused the cathedral's spire to collapse, fire officials believe they saved the church's structure.

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