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To the Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of the West:


I ask you all to keep the people of the Sonoma and Napa valleys in your prayers.  As I write this the situation changes hourly.  But I can report there have been no casualties so far.  Some of our faithful and the nuns of both the Kazan Skete and Calistoga have had to be evacuated.  The weather reports promise there will be significant winds today and on the weekend.  This means the fire can and probably will spread.  The danger will persist as well as a depressing sense of uncertainty for everyone for some time.  As of last night, there was zero containment.  But, according to Fr. Lawrence Margitich, no one from the parish has been harmed though one family lost their home.  There are thousands who have been left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  We are grateful to God for the mercy he has shown us and pray the Theotokos will extend her protecting veil over the faithful of the Napa and Sonoma valleys.  The road to recovery is going to be long and difficult even for those who did not lose their homes.  Many businesses, schools and other important civic institutions have been destroyed.


Lord, have mercy!



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