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

The Lord bless!

It seems like it was only yesterday that fire threatened the clergy and faithful in the Napa and Sonoma valleys.  Once again, a fast moving fire has devastated the community of Paradise, CA where some of the faithful from the Chico parish live.  As I write, it has been reported 1,000 homes have been destroyed by fire.  And the fire is moving rapidly towards the city of Chico.  I would ask you all to pray for the victims.  I will most likely ask we take up a collection to benefit the victims.  I am afraid such fires may become a regular feature of life here in California.

I would also ask you to remember the victims in the terrible shooting in Thousand Oaks.  Not only is this a considerable evil, it also appears to reflect the unseen mental wounds that exist in so many of our veterans who have seen and experienced the tragedy of war.  May God give the departed rest and protect us all.

This Sunday's Gospel is the Parable of the Good Samaritan where Christ calls us to care for our neighbors.  Indeed, to paraphrase St. Anthony the Great, salvation rests in our neighbor.

+Benjamin

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