Almost ten years ago in Paris, near the cobblestone streets and Seine River, I obsessed about my next serving of ice cream, crème brûlée, and the baby boy I carried at 20 weeks pregnant. The Gothic structure of Notre Dame, which translates to Our Lady or Mother of God, took our breath away. When recent news broke about the flames at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, coworkers of all faiths and I felt shock and heartbreak, but hopeful she would prevail. The story of Notre Dame resonates with mothers, Catholics, and citizens of the world. Notre Dame Cathedral broadens your perspective with the magnitude of the medieval cathedral that took almost 200 years to build. The significance of Notre Dame further resonated with our family as our son made his First Communion.
Catholic Herald expounds on our admiration of Notre Dame.
Notre Dame in Paris has played an important role in the history of France, but it is not just a building. It is a throne for Mary, the Queen. As Bishop Barron observed, the cathedral sits at the centre of Paris: since it was built in the 12th century, it has been at the centre of the civilisation that radiated out from the University of Paris. As the medieval Christians who studied at Paris saw her, Mary was the Mother of the Word, and therefore the magistra of all the liberal arts. She was also looked to as the Mother of Wisdom, through whom students could learn the disciplines of grammar, rhetoric, and logic. Under Mary’s patronage, modern philosophy and science were born.
The resilience and fortitude of Notre Dame Cathedral is one of solidarity, faith, music, art, family, and history that support your journey. Our family embraces our parish school community that guided our second grade boy toward this maturation in his faith to make his First Communion. I looked toward my parents and siblings with our niece and nephew in a front pew and remembered my Grandma's funeral in the same church.
Our school choir performed an impeccable rendition of Panis Angelicus after communion. That Latin song's English translation epitomizes the meaning of communion in our Catholic Church.
The angel's bread becomes the bread of men
The heavenly bread ends all symbols
Oh, miraculous thing! The body of the Lord will nourish
The poor, poor, and humble servant
We honor our Lady of Notre Dame as our family gives thanks among the chaos of life with second-grade and kindergarten age boys and our extended loving family, including Passamani aunts, uncles, and cousins.
We hope and pray our friends of all beliefs find strength to nourish their quest to be their best selves. Meanwhile, our eight-year-old and six-year-old boys look forward to more ice cream and crème brûlée French toast. We wish you and yours a happy Mother's Day and would love to read about your Notre Dame experience in the comments! XOXO
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