The cover and leading article tell the story of the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. The devastating fire on the Monday of Holy Week is not the first time there was fear for the future of this great church in honour of the Mother of the Lord. During the French Revolution, it was turned into a Temple of Reason by the proponents of a new State religion. When the cult failed after a brief time, the great building was reduced to a warehouse. Napoleon gave it back to the Church in 1802, but it was more that forty years before work of restoring it to its former glory began in 1848. As the title of the article says, “Notre Dame will rise again!”
The month of June each year sees the Solemn Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help take place in the majority of Redemptorist churches. Fr Dennis Billy, an American Redemptorist theologian who has made a close study of St Alphonsus, founder of the Redemptorists, and his writings one of his main tasks, shows how the saint’s devotion to the Mother of the Lord is at the origin of this annual festival of faith.
He fought in the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, was wounded at the Massacre of Wounded Knee in 1890 and travelled in Europe as a member of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Nicholas Black Elk became a Catholic. So dedicated a spiritual leader of his people did he become that his cause for canonisation has been opened. Grandparents increasingly play a role in the lives of their grandchildren, so Susan Gately’s article on the Catholic Grandparents’ Association will be both welcome and informative. Jim Deeds reflects on what it means to lose a child, from a temporary loss on a day out to a longer loss through death and estrangement. There are many other good things to be found in this issue, including the old favourites of our three regular columnists, reflections on the Sunday Gospels and the ever-popular “Reflections.” Here is one from the late Fr Al Reid that might give us something to think about in these days of political uncertainty: “The only way to change things, is through dialogue which makes room for the Holy Spirit to work in human history.”