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French Catholic leaders to celebrate first mass at Notre-Dame since fire... in hard hats

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French Catholic leaders to celebrate first mass at Notre-Dame since fire... in hard hats
11:32 CEST+02:00
Mass will be held at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris for the first time since the fire ravaged the monument two months ago - and the Catholic leaders taking part will be obliged to don a hard hat.
Candles, incense... and safety gear - the first mass since the blaze at Notre-Dame will not look like the thousands that have preceded it. 
 
Bishop Patrick Chauvet, Rector of Notre-Dame Cathedral, has announced that mass will be celebrated for the first time since the blaze, which took place on April 15th, on Saturday or Sunday (June 15th or 16th) - and that hard hats will be mandatory. 
 
The mass is set to be held in a small chapel that was spared by the fire where the Holy Crown of Thorns, believed to have been worn by Jesus at his crucifixion, is kept. 
 
The mass -- led by Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit -- will be celebrated on a very small scale late Saturday, the diocese said.
 
 
The participants, which will include six or seven priests in addition to the archbishop and several canons, will have to wear a helmet, according to France Inter.
 
The date has been chosen as it is the anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral's altar, which is celebrated every year on June 16th.
 
The event will be broadcast live by a French television channel so that Christians from all over France can participate, the diocese added. 
 
The mass may be preceded by the Vespers service, the sunset evening prayer service, to be held in the square in front of the cathedral. 
 
Bishop Patrick Chauvet also announced the creation of a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the space in front of Notre-Dame.
 
Last week French health authorities advised parents living in central Paris with young children and pregnant women to get their lead levels tested after an abnormally high level was detected in a child in the area.
 
The fire that ravaged the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris last month released lead particles that have settled in potentially dangerous amounts in areas surrounding the church - where many Parisians live.
 
The cathedral is expected to remain closed to visitors for years as workers clear away debris before embarking on an ambitious plan to restore the roof within five years.
 
President Emmanuel Macron has set an ambitious target of five years for restoring the Notre-Dame, which was gutted by a fire on April 15th that felled its steeple.
   
The diocese is awaiting a response from the French authorities over whether it can re-open the parvis -- the open space in front of the cathedral -- to the public.
   
If the authorities approve the plan, the idea is to celebrate the evening prayers on the parvis, the diocese said.
  
A temporary structure could be erected there to host worshippers while the cathedral is rebuilt.
 
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