This is Father Jean-Marc Fournier, who led the charge to retrieve the Notre-Dame Cathedral’s most precious artifacts, the Crown of Thorns, believed to have been worn by Jesus Christ, and the Blessed Sacrament. Fournier is the chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade and LIFELINE® is proud to share his story.
Father Jean-Marc Fornier was a Catholic priest in Germany before moving to France, he served in the diocese of the French armed forces for seven years starting in 2004 and survived a 2008 ambush in Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of 10 troops. No stranger to life-threatening situations, in 2015 Fournier was recognized for caring to victims of a terrorist attack at the Bataclan music hall, where he prayed with and comforted those insides, according to Sky News. “I gave collective absolution, as the Catholic Church authorizes me,” Fournier said in the profile.
Fornier’s bravery is likely rooted in his abilities and experience with many outdoor operations he’s been a part of, and where he risked his life every time. Fournier was interviewed after the ambush in Afghanistan, and he said that he chooses Providence: “Do what must come what may. A necessary disposition of mind in this ministry where we live near death every day. That of the brothers-in-arms, of course, but also that of the victims. And especially, it is necessary to return there, during the attacks of November 13th.”
The harrowing fire erupted in this medieval landmark in the French capital on Monday, sending the church’s spire and roof crashing to the ground as the flames and black clouds of smoke filled the sky. According to The Guardian, Jean-Marc Fournier insisted on entering the burning cathedral. He joined a human chain to enter the building and retrieved both the Crown of Thorns, a relic Catholics believe Jesus Christ wore on his head during his crucifixion, and the Blessed Sacrament, which is a name for the body and blood of Christ in the form of consecrated bread and wine. “Father Fournier is an absolute hero,” a member of Paris’ emergency services told Sky News. “He showed no fear at all as he made straight for the relics inside the cathedral, and made sure they were saved. He deals with life and death every day and shows no fear.”
We couldn’t agree more with that statement. We admire Father Jean-Marc Fornier’s bravery, and the example he sets for all career and volunteer members of emergency services teams around the world.