By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – As the world watched the Notre Dame Cathedral burn, Jared Staudt was reminded of his first visit.

(credit: CBS)

“I was over there when I was 15 for the first time and just really inspired my love for church history, the middle ages, church architecture. The whole experience just blew me away, the history and culture, art,” said Staudt. He’s now the Director of Formation for the Archdiocese of Denver.

(credit: Jared Staudt)

“This is one of the great symbols of France and of Catholic culture in the middle ages. When you’re standing in front of it you have the two iconic towers and they just soar up. It really does pull you upwards. It’s just very transcendent,” Staudt said.

His last trip to Paris and the Cathedral was just a few months ago. He led a group of pilgrims last October.

(credit: CBS)

“How much of it will be salvageable? It would be hard to fathom Paris and France and even just Catholic culture without Notre Dame,” he said. “You have those intricate rose wood windows and the stain glass, the flying buttresses and the pointed arches. Ribbed vaults, all the things we love about the gothic cathedrals. Notre Dame was one of the first places to implement that architecture.”

(credit: CBS)

The Archdiocese says it’s received many calls of Coloradans hoping to help with rebuild efforts. An official fund hasn’t been announced.

(credit: CBS)

“Even though the construction of Notre Dame truly does represent the Catholic tradition and Catholic imaginations. It is part of the world heritage that people from all over the world, they want to come and see this cathedral because it represents one of the greatest achievements in human history,” Staudt said. “Seeing the building on fire, it’s gut wrenching, and it just means so much of our legacy and heritage is being threatened in general. I really am hopeful they’ll be able to rebuild but it will be a very extensive project.”

Jeff Todd

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