California is once again fighting devastating wildfires in the northern and southern parts of the state, forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate and leaving millions more without power in an effort to prevent any additional fires.
Scripture is clear that we are to devote ourselves to assisting our brothers and sisters in times of peril. In the gospel according to Matthew, Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me.” (Mt 25)
There are many ways to help victims, first responders and other people and organizations that are on the front lines and prayer is one. Catholic Charities USA has a page devoted to prayer for disaster victims and relief efforts.
The USCCB has offered special prayers and blessings for first responders, including a specific mass honoring God’s call of charity and love of one another. The mass includes a special blessing for organizations concerned with the public need.
You might also consider asking for intercessions from St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters, as well as St. Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of first responders.
Catholic Charities agencies throughout California offer assistance with fires and other natural disasters – especially with ongoing recovery efforts after first responders leave. For a list of local Catholic Charities click here.
Please continue to hold fire victims and first responders in your prayers and assist wherever you are able.