In the fall of 2017 I was in Paris with Christophe Mortier, Melissa Dalton-Bradford, Sarah Wood, and my brother Nathanael in order to interview refugees and some of the people doing their best to help them. I remember there was a beautiful morning when I got up early before the rest to get a video or two of Notre Dame before the crowds came out. I was there early enough that the soldiers guarding the cathedral didn’t arrive until after I did. There was almost nobody there. It was peaceful and rewarding. I’m glad I was able to see it when I did.
Notre Dame reminds me of the tradition of sanctuary, offering refuge and aid to those in need, especially strangers and foreigners. As heartbreaking as it is to see the destruction of Notre Dame, it has been heartening for me to witness from afar the entire city of Paris gathering in solidarity and pledging to rebuild. I hope for a similar commitment within all of us to offer sanctuary to the millions of our refugee brothers and sisters in need of welcome around the world.