Still scarred, Notre Dame lives anew in coronavirus crisis

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A man wearing a face mask rides his bike in front of Notre Dame cathedral during a nationwide confinement to counter the Covid-19, in Paris, Sunday, April 5, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — Although still damaged and scarred by fire, Notre Dame Cathedral is — if only for an instant — coming back to life as a center for prayer in a Paris locked down against the coronavirus.

Just days before the first anniversary of the April 15, 2019, inferno that ravaged the beloved Paris landmark, the French capital’s archbishop is leading Good Friday celebrations unlike any others that have gone before inside the centuries-old jewel of Gothic architecture.

Archbishop Michel Aupetit will venerate a crown of thorns that survived the flames that brought down the cathedral’s roof and spire and horrified Parisians and people across the world.

There will be prayers, readings and music during the Friday morning ceremony but no crowds. With the cathedral closed to the public, only a tiny handful of people are taking part but the proceedings are being broadcast live.

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