All summer long in 2012, young volunteers from all over the world come, like they do every year, to spend a few weeks at Notre-Dame during the “Communautés Internationales d’Accueil”.
They welcome pilgrims and visitors, taking them on tours of Notre-Dame de Paris to discover its spiritual message, history, architecture, stain-glass windows, sculptures and more.
In summer 2012, more than 20 youth from France, the UK, Canada, Spain, Italy, Poland and Russia will be giving tours in French, English, Spanish, Italian, Polish and Russian, Monday to Friday.
As throughout the rest of the year, these free tours are sponsored by the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, lasting around one hour. Those who take advantage of the tours can, if they wish, make a contribution to the cathedral to help contribute to these young volunteers’ accommodation costs.
The information/meeting point is behind the throne chair (see map above). Tour times and languages are subject to daily changes. Please call the cathedral reception for more information: +33 (0)1 42 34 56 10. These tours are available Monday to Friday. For tours on Saturday and Sunday, times are available on the website agenda.
The “Communautés Internationales d’Accueil” were founded as a pilot program in 1980 by Alain Ponsar, founder of the association C.A.S.A., ‘Communauté d’Accueil dans les Sites Artistiques’. They complement the work of the C.A.S.A. group of Notre-Dame which has organised Cathedral tours since 1972. These communities were reborn under Father Jacques Perrier, now bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, who was dean of Notre-Dame at the time, who made it part of the Cathedral’s summer preaching mission.
The ‘Communautés Internationales d’Accueil’ are connected to C.A.S.A.’s youth recruiting section and are composed of two teams, one for July and another for August, of around twenty students aged 18 to 30 years old, all from different European and international countries: the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Sweden, etc.; United States, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Lebanon, and more. At the beginning of their stay, these youth go through a three to four day training session. After this initial training, they study a specific section of the Cathedral each day. These communities aim to present the Cathedral’s historical, architectural and spiritual aspects. The youth participants agree to live as a community and serve the Cathedral, including activities such as reading intercessions in various languages at the Vespers service, reading the Word of God at the evening mass, participating in celebrations on August 14 & 15, and much more. Each participant leads three tours a day and spends time at the reception desk. Saturdays and Sundays are reserved for community activities outside the Cathedral, such as museum visits, cultural excursions, and more.
The ‘Communautés Internationales d’Accueil’ are under the direct authority of the Dean and Rector, Msgr. Patrick Jacquin and are supervised by a volunteer, Mr. Jean-Pierre Cartier, a retired history professor, member of the CASA association. For each session, a young member of the community leads the group.
Typical Community day:
9:00 a.m.: Breakfast
9:30 a.m.: Group prayer
9:50 a.m.: Welcome desk opening
10:00 a.m.: First tour in various languages
11:00 a.m.: Second tour in various languages
11:30 a.m.: Welcome desk closing
12:30 p.m.: Lunch
2:15 p.m.: Welcome desk opening
2:30 p.m.: Third tour in various languages
3:30 p.m.: Fourth tour in various languages
4:30 p.m.: Fifth tour in various languages
5:00 p.m.: Welcome desk closing
5:45 pm: Cathedral vespers services
6:15 pm: Mass
7:00 p.m.: Meeting: review of the day, preparation for the next day, announcements, etc.
7:30 p.m.: Dinner