BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As the world mourns the destruction at Notre Dame, Baltimore Catholics are remembering their connection to the French church- the Baltimore Basilica.

Not only is the design of the famed dome inspired by French architecture, but many of the relics inside are gifts from the people of France to America’s first cathedral.

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The Basilica’s operations manager Bob Reier said the gifts were sent to help grow the Catholic faith in the United States- starting in Baltimore.

“All of the baptismal font, the holy water fonts, the candelabras on the altar, all of these things are gifts to this church to help them get started,” Reier said. “So, France seemed to be more than willing to help fund this fledgling church in the new United States,”

When the cathedral underwent restoration, special procedures protected its treasures from one of the greatest threats, fire.

“Any wood, or any place that wood was placed, even metal, if they were doing any welding or doing anything that involved fire, they would have a fire watch,” Reier said.

Along with the world, Baltimore is watching what will become of Notre Dame, burned during its own restoration work.

“There seems to be this outpouring of support,” Reier said.

In the meantime, he said, American Catholics are giving back to the church that gave so much here 200 years ago.

A fundraising drive for the Notre Dame has already topped $700 million.

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