While mandatory evacuations continue to effect tens of thousands of Northern California residents, some in the Diocese of Santa Rosa have been allowed to return after the string of devastating wildfires over the last couple of weeks.
The Chancery at the Diocese of Santa Rosa reopened on Monday, though it is not fully staffed since some employees remain in evacuation zones. Gas and phones are still not working, however, electricity and internet services are up and running.
The staff that works in the Cardinal Newman Retreat Center is unable to return to work, as the offices are located in a mandatory evacuation area.
According to Diocese of Santa Rosa Bishop Robert F. Vasa, the fires did not effect any churches, rectories, or parish halls in the Diocese. However, Cardinal Newman High School and St. Rose School both sustained significant damage. School faculty and staff are working diligently to rebuild and reopen the campus as soon as possible.
“School staff, with the support of the Superintendent and Chancery staff, is working tirelessly to resume instruction, care for their students and communities, and repair their schools,” he said. “Please keep them in your prayers.”
At last count, two faculty members at St. Rose, as well as 24 families with students who attend St. Rose School, all lost their homes in the fires.
In an effort to keep students and teachers connected, preschool and K-8 students will gather with teachers for prayer, art and other projects every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the St. Rose Parish Hall until the campus reopens. These meetings are not mandatory but highly encouraged as the community looks to rebuild together.
Those looking to help can visit SRDiocese.org for more information. For donations to a specific parish or school, visit Sign of Hope, where you can also find information on an upcoming special benefit on October 21 for those affected by the fires. To donate directly to St. Rose School, please visit the school’s website at www.strosecatholicschool.org.