‘Citadel of faith’: Sacramento Roman Catholic community prays and mourns as Notre Dame burns

Sacramento’s Roman Catholic community, Catholic schools and local churches prayed and mourned Monday as a massive fire at the Notre Dame cathedral raged into the night in Paris, having already toppled the landmark’s iconic spire.

“This destructive fire at the historic treasure and divine haven of mercy tears at our hearts,” Bishop Jaime Soto, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, said in a statement. “The iconic cathedral dedicated to Our Lady, Notre Dame, has stood as a stalwart citadel of faith for centuries.

“This tragic moment, coming as it does during Holy Week, is another test of that faith, but let us remember that it is the enduring grace of Jesus that has been and will be foundation and buttress of the Church.”

The tragedy comes six days before Easter and a day after Palm Sunday. In Christianity, the span between Sunday and the day before Easter is known as Holy Week.

“Notre Dame, Our Mother, pray for us,” the Diocese of Sacramento wrote on Facebook.

The fire erupted about 6:30 p.m. local time in Paris. No injuries have been reported, but the fire has torched large sections of roofs and collapsed the spire of one of the world’s most-visited tourist destinations, as reported by multiple French news outlets and as seen in videos on social media.

As of 10 p.m. local time, fire crews were working to keep the North Tower standing and to protect the 850-year-old cathedral’s most precious artwork, according to reports by the Associated Press and other outlets.

The cause of the fire has not been determined but may be linked to ongoing renovations of the structure, officials told French media.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee