Shreveport Catholic Diocese Administrator speaks of celebrating Mass at Notre Dame

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Flames rise from Notre Dame cathedral as it burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019. Massive plumes of yellow brown smoke is filling the air above Notre Dame Cathedral and ash is falling on tourists and others around the island that marks the center of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

SHREVEPORT, La. – (KTAL/KMSS) The administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Shreveport and rector of St. John Berchmans Cathedral in Shreveport today spoke of the day in 2005 when he joined the rector on the altar of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to celebrate Mass. 

Very Rev. Peter B Mangum, JCL, JV, known throughout the Shreveport Diocese as ‘Father Peter,’ said he has visited Notre Dame Cathedral several times beginning when he was a seminarian in Rome studying for the priesthood.

But, on this day, he had been a priest several years, and was rector of St. John Berchmans, when he spoke with the rector of Notre Dame. The rector there invited Magnum to con-celebrate a Mass with him.

It was just after Hurricane Katrina hit south Louisiana, and, Mangum said, “the rector told everyone in that Cathedral to pray for the people of Louisiana.

“Now,” Mangum continued, “I see that it is our turn to pray for the people of Paris, for those who have attended Mass there, in that beautiful cathedral.”

Mangum said he was devastated when he saw the video of the more than 800-year-old Cathedral engulfed in flames.”Such fire, such intensity, such historical significance for the world, for Paris, for France.  

This week is the holiest week in Roman Catholic tradition, filled with ceremonies and services leading up to Holy Thursday and Good Friday, before the resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated on Easter Sunday. 

Mangum said throughout this week, Catholics across the Diocese will be praying for the people in the Archdiocese of Paris and the parishioners of Notre Dame. 

Earlier today, the Catholic Diocese of Shreveport forwarded the following statement to the people of Paris from Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – “The horrific fire that is engulfing the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is shocking and saddens us all, for this particular cathedral is not only a majestic Church, it is also a world treasure.  
Noble in architecture and art, it has long been a symbol of the transcendent human spirit as well as our longing for God.  

Our hearts go out to the Archbishop and the people of Paris, and we pray for all the people of France, entrusting all to the prayers and intercession of the Mother of God, especially the firefighters battling the fire.  We are a people of hope and of the resurrection, and as devastating as this fire is, 

I know that the faith and love embodied by this magnificent Cathedral will grow stronger in the hearts of all Christians.” 

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