Last Saturday I was in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, in Napa Valley, CA, to speak at a conference.
At one point I had noticed smoke plumes on the far sides of a large Eastern ridge. On Saturday evening the other priest and I headed back to San Francisco in view of flights home at zero-dark-hundred.
Fires swept through the area. In retrospect, people at the conference seemed unaware of the impending threat…. or, I surmise, they would not have been there.
My friend Fr. Keyes, who came to the conference to greet me and listen, wrote:
The next few days after that conference were not fun as the fire started on Sunday night. Don’t plan any trips to the wine country in the near future until we begin to grow again. The devastation is everywhere. Keep us in your prayers.
Another person wrote:
The city of Santa Rosa, and surrounding areas, are currently undergoing several wildfires which have continued unabated since Sunday night. About half of Santa Rosa is now a mandatory evac zone, and the latest was that the fires are 0% contained. Many people are without power, and many have lost their homes and all their belongings. Some folks I know from my parish belong to that number.
If you could remember us in your prayers, and perhaps solicit the prayers of the readership, I know there are many here who would appreciate it.
Thanks, and God bless you.
P.S.: Last I saw, the Marian Sisters were doing shifts of two sisters at a time to help at the cathedral gym, which has been opened for local people who have been evacuated.
Fr. Keyes is the chaplain to the Marian Sisters. They are a marvelous group, a growing community. You might remember photos of how they lay out vestments, with the ribbons of the amice forming images and words. Very creative and dear. For example HERE
The fires seems to have swiftly come upon the people in Santa Rosa. I saw images on the news that are truly frightening: blocks and blocks of houses incinerated, cars burned, flames and smoke still licking their chops.
In your compassion, do pray for these people.
Also, in your prudence, please consider making your own plans for swift evacuation and protect of life and limb of yourselves and loved ones. I harp on this, I know, but I’d rather badger you into doing something as you grumble than read about how you were caught on the wrong foot when something happened to you.
It’s always someone else… until it’s your turn.
And remember to GO TO CONFESSION!