BUTTE – Watching the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral go up in flames Monday from his home in Butte was difficult for the man so far from the city of his youth.
“It’s a complete heartbreak. I grew up in that city of Paris and you grew up with Notre Dame being the center of the city geographically, but it’s also its heart and soul,” said Father Patrick Beretta.
Beretta, who is the parish priest in Butte, remembers doing a photographic essay of the 850-year-old church as an assignment in high school.
“I’m trying to study it in photography and trying to catch angles that maybe catch people by surprise. Discovered new ways of discovering the beauty of it,” said Beretta.
He also remembers attending a symphony concert at Notre Dame where he heard the music of Berlioz inside the breathtaking cathedral.
“The combination of the inside beauty of the church and the great organ and the sublime beauty of the piece, I mean, brought you to tears. I spent almost the entire concert in tears being deeply moved by the entire experience. That’s what this building is,” said Beretta.
Beretta, who is used to bringing comfort to the Butte community, received many messages of condolences this week from people in Butte.
“And I want to thank them for that. It means a tremendous amount. They know that it’s a moment of grief for me and their gesture has touched me very, very much,” he said.
More than just a building.
Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News