Notre-Dame's chief organist raises US funds to rebuild cathedral
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For Catholics around the world, Notre-Dame is the mother of all cathedrals. "Notre-Dame is the world's church ... it's iconic for the entire world," said Walter Rossi, rector of Washington's Basilica in DC.
You can see this in the wake of the fire that threatened to gut the Paris landmark and the "outpouring of affection, concern and finances" that followed, Rossi said.
Johann Vexo, Notre-Dame's chief organist, said he "feels like an orphan" in the wake of the blaze.
"Not only have I been separated from my instrument, I've also been separated from Notre-Dame. It's hard to imagine that I am not going to be able to set foot in the cathedral where I have spent so much time working and performing these last 15 years," Vexo said.
"It's very difficult."
Michel Picot, president of the Friends of Notre-Dame, says the amount of money being donated to Notre-Dame is "astounding". The generosity has also generated some controversy, with critics citing the largesse as evidence that there is money in France when it's needed even while inequality remains a persistent problem.
"At the end of last year, we'd raised €3 million in private funds to restore the cathedral," said Picot. "About half of that came from France, the other half from the United States."
And yet, less than two weeks after the fire, hundreds of millions of euros have already been pledged to rebuild the cathedral.
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