SPRINGFIELD – Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois issued a statement with great sadness Monday afternoon in response to a fire destroying Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

“It is heartbreaking to see the pictures of one the most beautiful and historic churches in the world going up in flames," he said. "Notre Dame Cathedral is more than a church – it’s a worldwide iconic symbol of our Catholic faith. My thoughts and prayers are with Catholics around the world who love Notre Dame Cathedral and have lasting memories there, the people of France, and the first responders. While the church may be destroyed, I believe in the faith and perseverance of the people of Paris and the world who will rise up and help this community rebuild.”

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