In an online press conference given yesterday, Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris announced the relic of the Crown of Thorns will go on display for Good Friday from inside the Notre Dame Cathedral nearly one year after it was consumed in flames.
“When Mary is at the foot of the cross, she knows that from the most absolute evil God can always draw a much greater one. I do not see any meaning in the cathedral fire or the COVID-19 epidemic. On the other hand, I know that God can bring much greater out of the misfortune that strikes us.”
On the day before Good Friday, Holy Thursday, Aupetit will bless Paris with the Eucharist from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Montmartre, the highest hill overlooking the city. (Click here to read how Montmartre – the “Mountain of Martyrs” got its name from a saint who preached a sermon after he was beheaded on the hill.)
On Good Friday, Aupetit will lead a meditation on Christ’s Passion from inside the Notre Cathedral before the Crown of Thorns behind the Pietà, joined by Notre Dame’s Rector Father Patrick Chauvet and Auxiliary Bishop of Paris Denis Jachiet.
The livestream will be broadcast from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm local time (5:30 am to 6:30 am Eastern time), with texts read from Charles Péguy, Paul Claudel, and Saint Teresa of Calcutta with a violinist to provide musical accompaniment.
Aupetit said he had originally planned to process the Crown of Thorns throughout the streets of Paris, but the strict coronavirus lockdown in France made it impossible to do so.
Paris has been on lockdown since March 17th, which was recently extended until at least April 15th, will all nonessential trips banned throughout the city except for going to the grocery store or to a doctor. As of April 7th, France had nearly 110,000 confirmed cases and over 10,000 deaths from coronavirus.