Berks priest after Notre Dame inferno: 'Life is fragile'

'We're not guaranteed anything'


READING, Pa. - In the wake of the inferno at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, there's a bit of relief.

Several artifacts have been saved, including twin bell towers and the Crown of Thorns, said to have been worn by Jesus.

"Generally, cultural institutions have an emergency plan, where the most important artifacts in the collection are marked and known to everyone, and so this was probably the case," said Scott Schweigert, the art curator of the Reading Public Museum, who once visited Notre Dame.

While some artifacts survived, Schweigert said he fears some artwork may have been destroyed.

"While they survive sometimes fire, sometimes the water damage is worse," said Schweigert. "You think about the millions of gallons of water rushing down over works of art. It definitely will take its toll on those objects."

Monsignor John Grabish, the pastor of Saint Paul's Catholic Church on North Ninth Street in Reading, has also visited Notre Dame.

"A religious place, gathering place such as Notre Dame, adds another dimension of -- for 800 years, we believe in a God, whose world we make up and to whom we reach out," said Grabish.

He said people will draw their own conclusions about why it happened, but he said people can take away an important lesson:

"We're not guaranteed anything, tomorrow or tonight, for that matter," said Grabish. "Life is so fragile."


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