French ‘Backpack Hero’ Will Be Special Guest at Reopening of Notre Dame Cathedral
‘When we are looking up to the sky and looking at cathedrals and we are filling our spirit with something beautiful and great, we can all act like our ancestors and like Jesus Christ wants us to act…’
Earlier this month the story of a 24-year-old French man named Henri, who is being called the “backpack hero,” went viral for stopping a knife attack at a playground in southeastern France by chasing the attacker with a backpack.
Henri was in the town of Annecy during a pilgrimage visiting France’s cathedrals when he witnessed the attack.
Two adults, men over age 70, and four children, all 3 years old and younger, were seriously injured and later hospitalized due to the attack.
The Frenchman joined EWTN News Nightly on June 20 to share his experience and the latest developments.
He recalled walking on his way to a cathedral when he saw a man trying to attack some children and said, “For me it was not possible to just see that and not try to stop him.”
“I’m thinking that maybe I was not there without a purpose. Maybe it’s the Holy Spirit who laid my foot towards this man,” Henri, a Catholic, added.
He credited his faith with helping him to “react quickly and not think about my life.”
“When we understand that Christ gave his life to save us, it’s pretty easy to consider to give our lives to save others.”
Henri is currently on a nine-month pilgrimage visiting France’s cathedrals by foot. He explained that he was shocked after seeing the fire at Notre Dame in 2019 and decided to do this pilgrimage as an “homage” to all the cathedrals in France.
“When we are looking up to the sky and looking at cathedrals and we are filling our spirit with something beautiful and great, we can all act like our ancestors and like Jesus Christ wants us to act,” he said.
After receiving a message of gratitude from French President Emmanuel Macron for his heroic act, Henri was invited by the president to attend the grand opening of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris taking place in December 2024.
Henri said it’s a “great ending” for his pilgrimage, as Notre Dame is one of the most well-known cathedrals in the world.