BOSTON (CBS) — As the Notre Dame Cathedral burned thousands of miles away in Paris, many here at home watched in sorrow.

Barbara Bouquegneau is the Executive Director of the French Cultural Center in Boston. She says she was nearly in tears as she watched the fire take over.

“The flames engulfing what we call the city of lights,” she said. “It was lit in the worst way ever and you feel helpless.”

After a special mass in Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley spoke about the burning of the old and holy building.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley (WBZ-TV)

“It was horrifying I’m glad they were able to save as much as they were because I thought they would lose the entire structure,” Cardinal O’Malley said.

For more than 800 years the cathedral stood not only as a place of worship but also one of France’s finest architectural buildings, receiving more than 13-million visitors each year.

“Everyone knows Notre Dame,” Bouquegneau says. “If you think about Paris or about France and you think about iconic symbols, you will either say oh the Eiffel Tower or the Notre Dame de Paris.”

After seeing the disturbing images, O’Malley says he’s grateful for the recent renovations to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

The Cathedral Of The Holy Cross (WBZ-TV)

“These old churches if you don’t restore them, you’ll lose them. We were very very grateful to do the restoration at this point after 150 years,” Cardinal O’Malley said.

Cardinal O’Malley says he plans on reaching out to the Cardinal in Paris to offer his support.

The French consulate here in Boston says they are touched by the many messages of sympathy and support from Americans and everyone around the world.

The French Cultural Center is hosting a fundraiser to benefit the “Friends of Notre Dame” Tuesday, April 23rd at 7:00 p.m.


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