Local Catholics react to Notre Dame Cathedral fire

Local leaders share significance of Notre Dame loss

MONTEREY, Calif. - Many Catholics on the Central Coast came out to San Carlos Cathedral in Monterey for evening vespers, or prayers, on Monday. 

San Carlos Cathedral was built about 600 years after construction of the Notre Dame in Paris started. 

From above, both cathedrals are shaped as a cross. It is at the foot of the cross where the faithful enter in reverence. 

"You know the whole sense of architecture there is what is to draw your attention up towards the heavens, to lift you soul, your heart, the very essence of who we are up to God," said Father Peter Crivello, the vicar general of the Diocese of Monterey.

Architecture plays a very important role in Christian traditions, especially in the Catholic Church. It represents the majesty of God and the permanence of faith. 

Notre Dame, standing tall for nearly 1,000 years, is one of the most famous examples of that belief. It is why the sight of its burning brought forth such deep emotions from people in France and around the world. 

"It's part of the fabric of what it means to be French and certainly to live and be a part of Paris," said Crivello. 

"It was really tragic because it's such a cultural heritage. I've been fortunate enough to visit Notre Dame several times, so it's a special place for me and my family," said Stephen Paskvich, a Catholic. 

The hymns of San Carlos Monday evening echoed the hymns sung in Paris as Notre Dame was burning. The mood was somber and sacred. 

Bishop Daniel Garcia says it is a sign of their faith. 

"What happens in a time where there is tragedy, we as a people of faith, even in the midst of tragedy, try to find hope," said Garcia. "And my guess is that they were singing some songs of hope, of what is still yet to come even though what we now, what we feel, what we understand is broken and fallen apart." 

And while the temporary, such as church buildings, may crumble and fall, the faithful rest on the knowledge of the eternal. 

"The church always speaks about the living stones, meaning the people. It's the people in the pew, it's the people that come and venerate, it's the people that come and pray," said Garcia.

The bishop concluded by asking everyone pray for the people of Paris and France as they go through a difficult time. 

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