fire

Long recovery ahead for communities hit by wildfires

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — The Diocese of Santa Rosa "has been hit hard" and "is in an ongoing state of uncertainty" because of Northern California wildfires that began the night of Oct. 8, said Bishop Robert F. Vasa.

At least 12 major fires were raging across the region, according to news reports. Of those 12, at least five were zero to 5 percent contained, and the rest were 15 to 70 percent contained. Fanned by warm winds, they devastated a vast swath of North California's wine country and forced 20,000 to evacuate. They left at least 17 people dead, and at least 180 others were missing.

'This is the day'

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In a pew with his family, young Liam Corley, age 6, watched intently as the events unfolded around the altar at St. Monica Church.

In the Rite of Dedication, Auxiliary Bishop Mark S. Rivituso blessed the altar, laid in the rectangular marble stone containing a relic, then anointed the stone and the granite surface with sacred chrism.

As the choir, including Liam's sister, Emily, filled the church with song, Bishop Rivituso worked his way around the sacred table, spreading the blessed oil by hand and making sure all four corners and everything in between were covered.

Faithful Fan | Parish CYC basketball programs demonstrate archdiocesan unity

Parishioners returned Feb. 25 to celebrate Mass at St. Monica Church for the first time since late December, when an arsonist burned its Nativity scene, severely damaged the altar and caused extensive smoke and water damage.

After the arson, the parish in Creve Coeur held sacramental events in the school, with Sunday Masses in the gymnasium. This displaced many basketball games that had already been scheduled there for the coming season. That's when other parishes in the West County district of the Catholic Youth Apostolate's CYC sports program stepped in to fill the void.

Editorial | Pray for calm and Catholic on

They carry on despite the circumstances.

This issue of the St. Louis Review includes an article about an arson at St. Monica Church in Creve Coeur two days after Christmas that requires cleanup and repairs lasting several weeks.

Yet, they carry on, with Masses and other sacramental matters continuing as scheduled, but in the parish school.

FIRE FOR LIFE: John O'Leary shares how his faith played integral role in his recovery, mission

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t's not unusual to have childhood friends in your wedding. But when more than half of your grade school class is in attendance? That's a sign of a special bond.

Playing with matches and gasoline resulted in a horrific accident at the age of 9 that burned John O'Leary over 100 percent of his body. He was certain to die. The accident was a redefining moment for the class of 1991 at St. Clement of Rome School in Des Peres.

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