On December 19th, a nightmare happened.
So here is the story.
In the front right corner of the Church we set up a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe for the feast day. This is where police believe that the fire began. Today around 3:30 a call was sent to the police of a fire in the Church. I was not inside, I had exited around 3:15 after an anointing for a short break at my home. When I arrived the church around 3:55, it was filled with smoke and the fire was being extinguished. 5 fire trucks were on the scene with a number of police officers.Thank you to all the fire fighters and police who were on the scene.
The fire, after burning where the shrine was set up, climbed the wall and went into the ceiling, continuing to set fire to the insulation of the nearly 90 year old church. Fire fighters continued soaking the church, ripping apart plaster in order to extinguish the fire. Thanks to their work, the fire is over.
This time of year is very special for Hispanics and our Church. Every night leading up to Christmas, there are celebrations in the Church, reenacting the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. However, this year, these celebrations will continue in the gym. We will not stop but we will continue with the grace of God. Thank you to all for your prayers. We will gladly receive them.
As to how the fire began, it was more than likely someone who placed a personal votive candle in front of the virgin that started the fire. Whoever it was, you are already forgiven. God’s mercy is available to all, especially in regards to accidents.
The cleaning work will begin tomorrow. I don’t know how many weeks or months it will take before we are back inside but we will return if God so desires. Thank you for your support for the parish and their gringo pastor.