The sight of Notre Dame Cathedral in flames was excruciating for millions worldwide. That such tragedy struck during the sacred Holy Week was an especially devastating blow for Catholics.
And yet, it was a powerful reminder of the profound importance of churches. Churches are where people come together and unite. They are places where we understand the resilience of faith, over many years. They are places of immense beauty that is aspirational and transcends our everyday lives. We go to churches to experience something bigger than ourselves.
At Catholic Extension, we witness daily why churches across the country matter. We see how people’s lives are changed because of the presence of a church. We understand how whole communities transform when they are centered around a church.
Last year alone, we built and repaired 47 churches in America. These are places where people who face devastating economic circumstances gather in times of joy and in times of need. Churches are where they imagine that their lives can improve. This is where they believe their futures will be different.
Whether we gather in renowned cathedrals or tiny chapels known only to our neighbors, these places hold a special place in our hearts. Our spiritual homes matter. They are sanctuaries of hope and strength, and we need them.