"On Friday the air quality was so dreadful and it was constantly raining ash," reported Father Tom Welbers, pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Claremont, at the eastern end of the L.A. Archdiocese, where a number of homes were lost --- some of those belonging to parishioners.
Over the weekend and early this week, Father Welbers
and other parish priests visited affected parishioners who either lost their home or at least had to evacuate from endangered areas.
"It seems that those who were evacuated had places to go," Father Welbers
noted."They were given enough time to get out with belongings."
At Hughes Community Center
in Claremont, one of many shelters set up near affected neighborhoods, Father Welbers
"walked and talked" with the fire "refugees" and, with a rabbi, organized a prayer service.
"People appreciated our presence," he
Nearby, in Claremont where last weekend's Mass attendance was "rather light," Father Welbers
said the parish's community services team was "very responsive" to the fire victims.