Langlois, Catholic News Service
In Spiritual Heart Parish in Medford alone, almost 150 households are at a loss with homes in ruins and ashes. Many are lower-income Hispanics. Some could not get homeowners insurance or mistrusted banks therefore lost their life savings. Entire communities in Skill and Phoenix disappeared.
“It is beyond me to try to discuss why such suffering is permitted to happen in our world,” the archbishop said during a Sept. 20 homily at Sacred Heart Church. “I have actually had some quite interesting conversations with the Lord these days.”
The archbishop expressed compassion for individuals who have dealt with the pandemic, political strife and social departments, only to be devastated by fire. “You have actually experienced a tremendous disaster and loss,” he stated.
Between Masses, the archbishop consulted with families, a number of whom wept as they informed him their stories.
“I bring to you not simply my own personal presence however as the shepherd of this regional church, I bring with me the love, prayers, concern, and the assistance of all your siblings and siblings in Christ,” he told them.
The archbishop pointed out the psalm antiphon of the day: “The Lord is near to all who hire him.”
“That is the message I would like all of you to carry in your hearts in nowadays,” he stated.
“God allows suffering and evil for one reason and one reason alone: To bring about an even greater good,” he stated during Mass at Shepherd of the Valley Church in Central Point.
He described that the most superb example of this is the suffering and death of Jesus, which was terrible yet resulted in salvation and immortality for followers.
“So, whenever we have those doubts about what God is up to, take a look at the cross and see that God has not deserted us,” the archbishop said in Medford. “He enjoys those who are suffering so greatly in this hour.”
In the middle of suffering, it is not possible to see what will come later, he admitted.
“Trust in God,” he told the Central Point parish. “He is with you now better than ever. And just as he did not abandon his son however raised him to new life, he will not desert you.”
The archbishop told fire victims that not just are fellow Catholics praying, but they are sending funds. The archbishop has asked national church organizations to aid the area.
“My brothers and sisters, understand that you are not forgotten,” the archbishop said. “You are not alone.”
The Catholic Guard, Portland’s archdiocesan paper, plans in the coming days to tell the stories of families who have actually lost their houses.
The Archdiocese of Portland has developed a Wildfire Relief Fund to support evacuees with housing and food as well as help parishes and schools significantly impacted. Donations can be sent by mail to: Carmen Gaston, Director of Improvement– Wildfires, Archdiocese of Portland, 2838 E. Burnside St., Portland, OR 97214.