Many thoughts moved through the mind of Father Paul Seil Monday as he followed news of the fire which engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. He's familiar with the iconic structure, having visited five times over two decades, most recently in January. "I concelebrated mass there once," Seil told WBFO.
Beyond its massive footprint and eight centuries of history, Seil observed the many people who would make their way through the Cathedral.
"It wasn't just Catholics. It wasn't old people. It wasn't young people. It was every culture, every race, every religion, really, would go there because of the overwhelming power of that structure," Seil said.
"Not only the richness of the history of the building itself, and the beauty of art work, but it was something that really drew people together."
Currently Pastor of Saint Bernadette Church in Orchard Park, Father Seil was also recently named Chaplain for the Buffalo Fire Department. As the son of a former firefighter, Seil also watched carefully as 400 firefighters worked to save the Cathedral.
"There was one firefighter who was seriously injured," Seil said.
"The fact that the fire was so massive and that very few people were actually injured was really something for which I was thankful."