Diocese of Bismarck bishop shares response to Notre Dame Cathedral fire

Bishop David Kagan, of the Diocese of Bismarck, says he was shocked when he first saw video of the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. He has made two pilgrimages to the historic building.

He says the first thing you see upon entering the church is the sanctuary with the crucifix hanging above the high altar.

That cross has become an iconic symbol of the fire, because an image of it emerged from the smoke showing it was not damaged during the blaze.

Bishop Kagan says the most important contents of the cathedral, the Blessed Sacrament and the relic of the Crown of Thorns were not damaged by the fire.

He was moved when the massive crowd watching the blaze spontaneously began singing Ave Maria as firefighters fought to preserve the 850-year-old church.

"Who better to seek protection of Notre Dame than the Blessed Mother for whom the cathedral is named," said Bishop Kagan.

Donations to rebuild the cathedral are pouring in from around the world. So far, more than $700 million has been raised.