PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the fire that tore through the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (all times local):
Pope Francis has told his weekly audience at St. Peter’s Square of his sadness over the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, the seat of the Paris archdiocese.
The pope said Wednesday that “I take this opportunity to express to the Paris diocesan community, all Parisians and the entire French population my great affection and my closeness after the fire in Notre Dame Cathedral.”
Addressing those gathered, pope said, “I was very sad and I feel very close to all of you.”
He expressed “the gratitude of the whole church to those who did their utmost to save the Basilica, also risking their lives.”
The pope on Tuesday sent a telegram of condolences to Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetitand and phoned French President Emmanuel Macron to express his solidarity.
Nearly billion has already poured in from ordinary worshippers and high-powered magnates around the world to restore Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after a massive fire.
Construction teams brought in a huge crane and a delivery of planks of wood to the site Wednesday morning.
French President Emmanuel Macron ratcheted up the pressure by setting a five-year deadline to restore the 12th-century landmark. Macron is holding a special Cabinet meeting Wednesday dedicated to the Notre Dame disaster.
Presidential cultural heritage envoy Stephane Bern told broadcaster France-Info on Wednesday that 880 million euros (95 million) has been raised so far. Contributors include Apple and magnates who own L’Oreal, Chanel and Dior, as well as Catholics and others from around France and the world.
Authorities consider the fire an accident.