Colorado wildfires force Mass cancellations, evacuations near parishes
Published: June 28, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CNS) -- A massive wildfire that started around the popular hiking spot Waldo Canyon west of Colorado Springs forced the evacuation of neighborhoods around several parishes and the cancellation of Sunday Masses at two parishes in the Colorado Springs Diocese. Holy Rosary Chapel in Cascade and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Manitou Springs canceled Sunday Mass June 24 after authorities determined they could be in the path of the wildfire and forced evacuations of those surrounding communities. The novitiate for the Order of the Holy Cross in Cascade was also evacuated and priests and novices were relocated to Sacred Heart Church in the Old Colorado City neighborhood in west Colorado Springs. Sacred Heart Parish is run by Holy Cross priests. As of June 28, the fire had consumed more than 18,000 acres and leaped over a ridge into the Mountain Shadow and Cedar Heights neighborhoods of Colorado Springs. No casualties have been reported and no churches have been damaged, but 34,500 residents have been forced to evacuate, including 2,200 people living in housing on the south section of the U.S. Air Force Academy campus. More than 300 homes are estimated to have burned down as of early June 28. Neighborhoods around St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Colorado Springs, including Mount St. Francis Nursing Home, were among those evacuated June 26. Father Brad Noonan, a longtime Colorado Springs fire chaplain before being assigned as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Castle Rock, has visited the site several times and has been available for the needs of firefighters and affected residents. He said the pastoral approach to help them is to "just try to be present to them."
Copyright (c) Catholic News Service /U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The CNS news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed, including but not limited to such means as framing or any other digital copying or distribution method, in whole or in part without the prior written authority of Catholic News Service .