Notre-Dame de Paris to celebrate the first Mass since the fire

PARIS: The cathedral of Notre-Dame will hold its first mass this weekend, as a fire devastated the Paris landmark almost two months ago, the city's diocese said on Tuesday.

The mass, led by the Archbishop of, will be celebrated on a very small scale on Saturday night, the diocese said.

It will be held in a side chapel with a restricted number of people, for obvious security reasons, he said.

It is expected that only 20 people will participate, including priests and canons of the cathedral.

The event will be broadcast live on a French television channel so that Christians throughout France can participate, the diocese added.

The date has been chosen since it is the anniversary of the consecration of the altar of the cathedral, which is celebrated every year on June 16.

The president has set an ambitious five-year goal to restore the Notre-Dame, which was destroyed by a fire on April 15 that tore down the bell tower.

The diocese is waiting for a response from the French authorities on whether it can reopen the open space in front of the cathedral to the public.

If the authorities approve the plan, the idea is to hold the evening prayers in the hall, the diocese said.

A temporary structure could be erected there to welcome the faithful while the cathedral is being rebuilt.