The Paris church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois

The forgotten victims of the Notre Dame fire

They weren’t burnt. They didn’t suffer the effects of smoke inhalation or lead poisoning.

But they’re victims of April’s tragic fire in Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The people of the church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois are denouncing that their parish is being broken up to make way for Notre-Dame parishioners.

Driving the news

As La Croix reports, the cathedral parish takeover of Saint-Germain has created worry and sadness among its faithful.

“We fully understand that the diocese was in a delicate situation and that a place was needed for the activities of Notre-Dame after the fire”, Jacques Hutin, vice-president of the pastoral council of Saint-Germain, told La Croix.

“But we would have liked to have been informed, to try to find a way not to break up this parish. We’ve been working hard for 15 years to bring it back to life!”

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Go deeper

La Croix spoke to several Saint-Germain parishioners, who all highlighted that their parish was one they came to “by choice”.

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Not, that is, by geographical convenience, given that the parish is in a spot more touristic than residential, surrounded by the Louvre Museum, offices and department stores.

“Until 15 years ago, apart from visitors passing through, there were no more people coming. Father Gilles Annequin was a driving force behind the renewal of this parish”, Hutin told La Croix.

“There is a deep sadness, because we had succeeded in keeping people loyal in a family spirit and a very beautiful communion”, added Father Annequin, who is leaving Saint-Germain for another assignment in nearby Saint-Louis d’Antin.

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What’s next

La Croix reports that the only activity left in the Saint-Germain calendar after the cathedral takeover is the Sunday 11.30 Mass.

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All the rest of the parish’s activities – shared meals, an annual cleaning day, catechesis, concerts, the Latin Mass – have come to an end.

Though the takeover is meant to be temporary – until the renovation of Notre-Dame is completed – the people of Saint-Germain are planning on dispersing to neighbouring churches.

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For the record

Parishioner of Saint-Germain Laure-Mathilde Reydellet couldn’t hide her disappointment at her parish breakup, lamenting all the friendships she says she’s going to lose.

“It is essentially this conviviality that attracted me to Saint-Germain in 2007,” she told La Croix.

“I had never experienced this before elsewhere. In Paris, you can attend a parish for months without anyone ever speaking to you!”

“All of this suddenly disappears. In fact, I’m talking to you about all this, but it’s already over”, Laure-Mathilde lamented.

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