I would like to share with all of you the following message from Most Reverend José H. Gomez, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to the bishops of Australia in the wake of their devastating wildfire outbreaks.

“Along with my brother bishops here in the United States, I have been following reports of the devastating wildfires in your country with sorrow and deep concern. Please know that we are praying for you and your people in these difficult days. 

We pray in solidarity with you for those who have lost their lives and livelihoods and we pray for those whose homes and lives are still threatened. We pray for the heroic firefighters and first responders and for all those working to provide relief and comfort to victims. May God in his mercy be near to all of you, and may he bring a swift end to these terrible fires and begin healing the wounds and restoring what has been lost. 

On behalf of my brother bishops, I entrust you and your people to the tender care of Our Blessed Mother Mary and I pray that our good God may grant you peace.”

I ask the people of the Diocese of Joliet to please join me and my brother bishops in prayer for all those threatened by these fires, as well as all the people working to protect and aid those affected.

May God bless you all,

Most Reverend Richard E. Pates Apostolic Administrator, Diocese of Joliet