October 9, 2017
✠ James the Apostle, son of Alphaeus

Beloved in the Lord,

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust.” –Psalm 18:2

I share with you news of devastating fires that are affecting two major areas in California. In northern California, eight fires have destroyed over 1,500 structures and ten people have lost their lives. At present there is zero containment of these fires that have consumed over 57,000 acres. Over 20,000 residents in Napa, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Calistoga and the surrounding areas have been evacuated and many wait for news regarding the safety of their homes.

The Canyon Fire 2 in the Anaheim Hills area of southern California has now reached nearly 5,000 acres and has also forced the evacuation of over 1,000 residents. This wind-fed wildfire has traveled at a rapid pace, destroying six homes in its path thus far. Residents wait and watch as this fire jumps from house to house, with many people in the area still in imminent danger.

Our parishes are coming together to offer support and prayers, and we encourage everyone to join in personal supplications to the Lord tonight, tomorrow and in the coming days for calm winds, strength for the emergency crews, and the ceasing of the damage and devastation to lives, homes, and jobs.

Parishioners in both northern and southern California who reside in mandatory evacuation zones are seeking refuge with family, friends and fellow parishioners. We continue to monitor this situation and offer our prayers for their safekeeping and the protection. These consuming fires affect all of us, both physically and emotionally, and it will take our collective strength and prayers to sustain each other during this difficult time.

With Love in Christ,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco

Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Stephen Lam