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Pope Francis says his thoughts remain close to Parisians and the people of France, as donations for the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral pour in from around the world.

Speaking to French pilgrims present at the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis thanked the many people who risked their lives to salvage Notre Dame as fire tore through Paris’ Cathedral.

“The gratitude of the whole Church goes to those who did everything they could, even risking their lives, to save the Basilica,” he said.

The Holy Father said he felt a great sense of sorrow for the damage caused by the devastating blaze.

Extensive damage

Fire broke out on Monday evening in Notre Dame’s rafters, where workmen had been carrying out renovations.

The spire of the 12th-century Cathedral collapsed, along with the entire roof.

Courageous fire-fighters saved the Blessed Sacrament and several relics, including the Crown of Thorns and the tunic of St. Louis. Much of the artwork was also rescued. Authorities consider the fire an accident.


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