With the scaffolding removed from the newly installed spire of Notre Dame Cathedral and reconstruction work going full speed inside France’s most iconic church, the home of precious relics and a tourist site visited by millions of people yearly will be ready to reopen December 8, Report informs referring to The Tablet.

“We will be doing everything in a hurry over those last few months,” the cathedral’s rector-archpriest, Father Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, told OSV News April 10, just ahead of the last anniversary of the April 15, 2019, fire before the reopening.

But Father Ribadeau Dumas is looking to the future with optimism. A former rector of the Lourdes sanctuary, he was appointed Notre Dame’s rector in 2022, three years after the fire. He has therefore not yet experienced the life of the cathedral in normal times.

“In April 2019, I was spokesman for the French bishops’ conference, and I spent the whole night of the fire responding to journalists calling me from all over the world,” he told OSV News.

“Today, I am not interested in commemorating five years since the fire. What I am really looking forward to is getting everything in place that will allow us to celebrate Masses after the reopening,” he said.

“For the moment, the large scaffolding structure is still occupying the place of the ‘liturgical stage,’ on which the altar, the ‘cathedra’ — the bishop’s seat, and the ambo will be placed. And this bronze ‘furniture’ is just coming out of the foundry,” he said.

In addition, the manufacture of 1,500 new wooden chairs is progressing rapidly, and at the same time the installation of the lights also is proceeding. “Lighting is very important,” Father Ribadeau Dumas said. “It has a double dimension. We have to light the ‘liturgical stage’ according to the liturgical moments. You do not light Good Friday the same way you light Easter celebrations! And we have to harmonize this lighting with the rest of the cathedral. It is not that simple.”

What electrified France in the last weeks prior to the anniversary was the invitation to bid on the job of creating the new stained-glass windows for Paris’ cathedral. New stained-glass windows are to be installed in six of the seven chapels on the nave’s south aisle, on the side of the Seine River. Candidates must be pairs of an artist designer and a glass workshop.