Diocese of Santa Rosa

Cardinal Newman High School Community Benefit Saturday October 21, 6:00 - 10:00 p.m.
St. Vincent de Paul High School in Petaluma invites you to a Community Benefit for Cardinal Newman High School families, faculty, and staff that have been affected by the fires. Please join Saint Vincent de Paul High School for a Spaghetti Feed and Raffle benefitting the Cardinal Newman families, faculty and staff that have been affected by the fires.
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Mass in DeCarli Gym Adjourn for Spaghetti Feed in Monsignor Tillman Hall
7:10 p.m. Blessing of the Meal
10:00 p.m. Evening Concludes
$20 per person No-host bar. Beer, wine and cocktails will be available. 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Cardinal Newman community.
DeCarli Gym and Monsignor Tillman Hall Saint Vincent de Paul High School 849 Keokuk Street, Petaluma, CA 94952

Please click here to RSVP by October 19, 2017:f you have questions please Claudia Thompson, cthompson@svhs-pet.org


Update from Bishop Vasa October 14th 2017 (Saturday)
Friday the thirteenth
, superstitiously a day of bad luck, fortunately did not live up to its reputation since it was a relatively calm day and progress was made in corralling the fires. Saturday morning is another issue. Higher winds have fanned the flames near Oakmont, Sonoma and Santa Rosa resulting in new areas of mandatory evacuation. Among the new evacuation areas is Holy Spirit Parish. Anxieties in these areas are again elevated as we wait and pray for a diminishment of the winds and containment of the fires. Lord, keep the residents and the responders safe. 
On Thursday evening a Mass was celebrated at Saint Rose especially for the school families connected with Cardinal Newman High School and Saint Rose Elementary. The overflowing church brought together this portion of the Santa Rosa community and was a source of encouragement and support to those who suffer through these days. Pastors, as well as I, are visiting the major evacuation centers. Some parishes are hosting evacuees but the city or county shelters have more concentrated access to the services which those who have left or lost their homes need.  Mass will be celebrated by Father Keyes at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds for the National Guard and responders this evening (Saturday). 
I am scheduled to go to Napa where a Mass for evacuees, National Guard and other responders is scheduled for this evening at 4:00. I look forward to this opportunity to be with the Napa faith community and the responders there. 
Again, I assure all of you of my ongoing and ardent prayers for your safety and well being.  While we are far flung and scattered I need you to know that you are not alone. We are still in survival mode rather than recovery mode but plans are already underway, especially for our impacted schools, to provide a path forward.  The impact on the cities is enormous and this likewise impacts on our parishes.  Once our office is available discussions will begin in earnest with the affected pastors to see  what relief is needed to support the recovery in those locations and ways to provide some resources for that recovery. Persevere! May God bless all of you,  +Robert F Vasa, Bishop of Santa Rosa

The Holy Father’s condolences for the victims of the wildfire in California, 13.10.2017

(Friday October 13th, 2017) The following is the telegram of condolences for the victims and those affected by the wildfire currently causing devastation in California, United States of America, sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Holy Father to H.E. Msgr. Salvatore Joseph Cordileone, archbishop of San Francisco, and to H.E. Msgr. José Horacio Gómez, archbishop of Los Angeles.


The Most Reverend Salvatore Joseph Cordileone
Archbishop of San Francisco
The Most Reverend José Horacio Gómez
Archbishop of Los Angeles

Informed of the tragic loss of life and the destruction of property caused by the wildfire in California, the Holy Father assures you of his heartfelt solidarity and his prayers for all those affected by this disaster. He is especially mindful of those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and who fear for the lives of those still missing. His Holiness offers encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they assist the victims of this tragedy. To all he sends his blessing.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State

(Link to Vatican Bulletin)

Update from Bishop Vasa October 12th 2017 Thursday

He Is Present to Us

Psalm 89 forms a part of the Office of Readings, the official prayer of the Church, for today, Thursday, October 12. There we read this plea for help: How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your anger burn like a fire?  Remember, Lord, the shortness of my life and how frail you have made the sons of men. 

Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman writes that joys and privileges, blessings really, which we routinely enjoy are better appreciated when they are gone than when we had possession of them. "Sometimes at the last moment, when mercies are about to be withdrawn, when it is too late, or all but too late, a feeling comes over them that something precious is going from them."  He is talking of access to God and the grace of repentance. It seems to me that it fits with our situation today.

It is a grace which "makes them so unwilling, just at the last moment to give up those privileges which they have so long possessed without valuing or using." When the threat of losing all material possessions becomes real we realize how much we take for granted. When all else is lost there is a renewed realization that, as we have heard from so many news reports, we still have our lives and our loved ones. These we have "possessed" for so long without properly valuing them.

God, too, is with us always often without our appropriately "valuing or using" him, without our giving to him even that hint of gratitude. The spontaneous outcry to God, heard very often in these days of trial, carries the note of worry that somehow this is punishment.

I want to assure you that this is not how the good God operates.

Any sense within us, however, which brings that question to our minds and hearts, can be attributed to the loving action of our God. It leads to a cry of desire to be in a newer, better relationship with God as we recognize anew that God is always present and available for us, but not always on our minds or on our hearts. He is present to us but we are absent from him.

There are many references to fire in the Scriptures and some have to do with punishment. The more consistent theme, however, is one of purification. Recall, "As gold is tested in fire ..."  Gold is not destroyed in fire but rather purified. Loss is painful, fire is painful and yet what remains after a fire, especially the love, support, solidarity, charity, family, community, parish, sacraments, and maybe a few possessions, are much more highly and properly valued once the smoke clears.

I pray that a graced spirit of hope and a deep sense of the presence, love and goodness of God can be more clearly seen, valued, and responded to when the present smoke clears. Persevere! +Robert F Vasa

See more information below

Holy Hour for Santa Rosa Diocese Schedule

In our humanity we recognize the charity of financial giving, however prayer remains the most effective source of consolation, healing, and solidarity.

Please sign up for an hour of Eucharistic Adoration at your home parish and dedicate your Holy Hour to the healing of the Santa Rosa diocese.  Repeat your scheduled hour each week until the 1st Sunday of Advent.

Bishop Robert F. Vasa, Statement on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, Noon

We continue to hear stories of loss and destruction. I want to make a few comments.

First, to those who have lost loved ones in the fire. We pray for your consolation and for eternal rest for your lost loved ones.  Our hearts go out to all of you.

At the same time, we acknowledge the sense of loss and suffering experienced by those who have lost their homes, or businesses, or places of employment. We pray that you do not lose hope, nor the sense of God’s presence and ultimate goodness. You must know that the hearts of the entire community, though it can neither feel what you feel, nor undo the loss, do go out to you.

We acknowledge the presence and work of both the fire fighters and the police. These are men and women, not only local, but from all parts of California, and perhaps elsewhere, who have come to serve temporally here. You have a difficult job and as time passes the patience of those suffering loss will be tested.  This will test your patience as well and I commend you for that patience and professionalism which I have seen so often and for which I commend you. As I very often advise. Persevere!

Thousands of volunteers are spending countless hours showing their desire to share in the suffering of those displaced by the fire. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. My prayers are with all of you as well.

While Santa Rosa may be receiving a lion's share of the attention the same pattern of loss, support, and suffering is experienced in numerous places, communities too numerous to name. The major areas however are Calistoga (where recent evacuation is being mandated) Napa, Clearlake, Sonoma, Willits, Ukiah, Windsor, Oakmont, Yountville. To all of you in these areas, I pray you maintain hope and are kept safe.

There are 17 wildfires in five counties three in the Diocese of Santa Rosa and two in the Sacramento Diocese. The fires are 3% at most contained with most at 0% containment. This will undoubtedly be an ongoing and lengthy fire fight. Gratefully your brother +Robert F. Vasa

Video Below (St. Eugene's Cathedral is an evacuation center and is being coordinated by the Marian Sisters of Santa Rosa and other Parishioners. A homeless man named Paul, who lives near the Cathedral in a creekbed, happened by and offered some consolation through his gift of music. The poignancy of the moment is not lost.)

See more information below

Bishop Robert F. Vasa, Statement on Tuesday October 10, 2017, Noon

OUR diocese has been hit hard, as you know well, and is in an ongoing state of uncertainty. The fires are zero percent contained as of Tuesday morning. Most of our parishes are fine. The one exception is cardinal Newman high school and Saint Rose elementary which share a campus.  A significant portion of the High School has been destroyed. I cannot estimate how much since the Area of these schools is still in a mandatory evacuation zone not because of ongoing fire danger but rather downed power lines and other forms of danger.  Saint Rose elementary suffered the loss of their preschool building and roof damage to the school and some damage to their gym. The immediate future and accessibility To these schools will need to be carefully evaluated.

The chancery was also in the heart of a severely fire damaged part of the city but fortunately was entirely spared. I am not able to go to the chancery since it remains in the mandatory evacuation zone.  Also the power is out in that area so there is no possibility of working from there today and for the unforeseeable future.  So I am currently working from my car and trying to visit a few of the evacuation centers. I have visited the center at Finley and the Cathedral.

In the city they estimate that 1500 homes and businesses have been lost. I have met numerous folks who are in shelters and who have no home to which to return. The sense of great helplessness is palpable.  That helplessness extends to the caregivers who know that short term solutions are necessary but also severely inadequate to meet the long term needs.

Santa Rosa is extremely smoky with the sun a mere red ball. 

I am not able to travel to other areas due to travel restrictions and road closures but my Vicar General, Msgr. Whelton has been in contact with all affected pastors and assures me that all are safe. One area on national news is a senior development known as Oakmont. That whole area is evacuated including the local pastor but, as I understand it, there has not been any loss of property in that development.  I trust that the local parish and hall are likewise safe at least for now. I have not heard of any other parish damage but the fire is far from contained and with wind possibilities rising over Tuesday night the future is still very much an uncertainty.

I will try to send occasional updates.  I appreciate the outpouring of concern and especially prayers. When people ask how they can help I answer that I really do not know. I do know that prayers are the greatest source of solace and help.  

My heart and prayers go out to all this displaced by the fire, especially those who have lost their homes. I am extremely grateful to all the caregivers who have reached out so generously to your brothers and sisters in need. We all need to recognize that this is a long term recovery and we are not yet done with the active fires. There is always need for ardent, consistent and devout prayers. I know that we can all count on you for this as well. Gratefully your brother +Robert F. Vasa

Many of your brothers and sisters in Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and Mendocino Counties have been severely impacted by the devastating fires and are in immediate need of your prayers. Please do not hesitate to offer your help though ongoing prayer, donations, and emotional support. You may even be inspired to offer your home to a family who has lost everything. Simply imagine yourself and your family going through what many are experiencing now in reality, and act accordingly.

Check back here for updates (we will update 2-3 times a day).

In the meantime:

DONATE: Make checks to: the Diocese of Santa Rosa - Mail to: P. O. Box 1297 Santa Rosa, CA 95402 (we will have electronic means set up next week)

Contact your local Parish (click here for Parish list)

Watch for updates on our Facebook page (click here to connect)

Live updates from SFGate

Evacuation Updates to your mobile phoene by zip code

Contact the Diocese