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Cardinals O’Malley in Boston, and Dolan, in N.Y., saddened by Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris

A massive fire engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
A massive fire engulfed the roof of Notre-Dame Cathedral in the heart of the French capital Monday.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley was among the countless people who watched in horror Monday as news reports captured footage of a fire tearing through the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and toppling the centuries-old church’s spire.

“Like millions around the world we are watching closely the tragic fire engulfing Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris,” O’Malley tweeted. “We pray for first responders & all in the vicinity of this sacred church. We stand close with our friends in the @dioceseparis #NotreDameCathedral.”

The 12th-century cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions. Paris emergency services were also racing to salvage the artwork stored inside the cathedral.

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, also tweeted about the devastating blaze.

“I just went next door to our own beloved Cathedral, Saint Patrick’s, to ask the intercession of Notre Dame, our Lady, for the Cathedral at the heart of Paris, and of civilization, now in flames!,” Dolan wrote. “God preserve this splendid house of prayer, and protect those battling the blaze.”

The Catholic leaders’ comments were echoed by Congressman Jim McGovern, a Worcester Democrat.

“What a terrible tragedy,” McGovern tweeted. “Lisa & I visited many years ago & were in awe. #NotreDame is an incredible place for Catholics, people of faith & indeed all people. My prayers are with the people of Paris.”


Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.