Those who know me well know that my moniker, BonjourBonnie, is genuine. I am an ardent Francophile. And so it comes as no surprise that the ravaging by fire of the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris has affected me greatly. Friends and family members reached out to me during the raging inferno to see how I was handling this devastation happening in a city I know and love so well.

I held my own vigil Monday afternoon and evening as I watched and waited and prayed for relief. I tumbled into bed that night, clutching my aching stomach and wishing a good night’s sleep would make it all go away. The following morning my first thoughts were of the cathedral and of all that was lost.

Unable to shake the grief, I did what writers do. I wrote.

I began with my deepest expressions of sorrow. “Notre Dame will not be the same because she was created at a time when those who built her believed in the God whose glory was to be celebrated within her walls.”

I continued by writing about the centuries of prayers that have been uttered in that sacred space: “Prayers too numerous to count have been laid down thick over the walls, the floors, and the ceilings of this holy sanctuary.”

And because I always hunt for hope, I saw in the worshippers gathered along the River Seine “the first worship service of the new Notre Dame cathedral. A new layer of prayer was laid down even amidst the soaring flames. The rebuilding has already begun.”

All these thoughts, and more, are in my article published today on ESA’s website. I do hope you’ll read the article, and that in it you will find hope for every heartache you carry.

In this Holy Week, I wish you a blessed Easter, remembering the words of the one for whom all cathedrals are built, “Behold, I make all things new!”

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