Notre Dame to celebrate first Mass since April fire

View of Notre Dame Cathedral from the top of the Tour Saint Jacques in Paris Friday

View of Notre Dame Cathedral from the top of the Tour Saint Jacques in Paris Friday

Pledges of some 850 million euros ($960 million) had been made from prominent French businessmen and ordinary citizens but only around 10 percent has been donated so far. But the ultra-wealthy donors who promised nearly $1 billion haven't yet ponied up a cent.

Saturday's mass, which commemorates the cathedral's consecration as a place of worship, is due to be held at 5pm local time in a side-chapel.

But none of that money has been seen yet, according to Finot.

- A fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said.Images posted on social media showed flames and huge clouds of smoke billowing above the roof of the gothic cathedral, the most visited historic monument in Europe. This month they are handing over the first private payment for the cathedral's reconstruction of €3.6 million ($6.2 million). After that, they will begin the reconstruction of the roof and vaulting.

French President Emmanuel Macron has set a goal of rebuilding it in just five years, which many experts consider unrealistic.

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The Pride celebration also included performances by Sara Bareilles , Vincint , Gavin Creel , Lea DeLaria, Jessica Vosk, and drag queen Jackie Dupree.

The tragedy prompted an outpouring of grief, and a host of French business tycoons promised to open their wallets to finance the cathedral's reconstruction. Macron has appointed former army chief Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin to oversee the reconstruction. But critics have said the timeline is overly ambitious.

A spokesman for the Pinault Collection acknowledged that the Pinault family hadn't yet handed over any money for the cathedral's restoration, blaming that on a delay in contracts.

When contacted by the AP about their failure to follow through on these donations, the above said they still meant to fund the church's renovation but hadn't yet for various reasons.

"How the funds will be used by the state is the big question", Verot said. "It's our function as the intermediary to know that the money is directed in line with the donor's wishes", she added. But obviously what matters in the end is the quality of the work, ' he said. The Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, the charity of L'Oréal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, pledged the same amount. "But more importantly, and this is normal, the donations will be paid as restoration work progresses".

De Challus said architectural experts are using digital models to try to establish how much damage the fire did to the cathedral's 13th-century stone, and whether its structures are fundamentally sound.

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