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Bishop Barron to Offer Post-Thomas Fire Mass of Thanksgiving, Honor Firefighters at Thomas Aquinas College

Updated: January 10, 2017

UPDATE: In light of the ongoing rainstorms and mudslides in Santa Barbara County, the Most Rev. Robert Barron has postponed the post-Thomas Fire Mass of Thanksgiving that was scheduled to take place at Thomas Aquinas College on Wednesday, January 10. A new date for the Mass will be announced after the dangers have subsided.

Please pray for the affected residents in Bishop Barron’s pastoral region, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.


On Wednesday, January 10, the Most Rev. Robert Barron will come to Thomas Aquinas College to offer a post-Thomas Fire Mass of Thanksgiving — to thank God for the lives spared and buildings saved, as well as to pray for those who have lost so much, including fallen firefighter Cory Iverson and his family.

The largest fire in California’s recorded history, the Thomas Fire began just south of the College’s Santa Paula, California, campus on the evening of December 4. Fanned by Santa Ana winds, it spread quickly, burning nearly 300,000 acres and destroying more than 1,000 structures in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Over the last month, firefighters and other first responders from throughout California have traveled to the region to contain the blaze, which is now mostly under control. Among those was Mr. Iverson, a fire apparatus engineer with Cal Fire’s San Diego unit, who gave his life while battling the flames outside of Fillmore.

The Most Rev. Robert Barron The Most Rev. Robert Barron Wednesday’s Mass will honor Mr. Iverson and his fellow first responders, while also recognizing public officials for their leadership during this time of crisis. Bishop Barron, the Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and Episcopal Vicar for Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, will serve as the principal celebrant and homilist, joined at the altar by pastors from parishes throughout the region and the College’s four chaplains. Among the invited guests are mayors of all of the cities affected by the fires and other regional officials.

“Given that the fire started so near to our campus, and took its name from the College, Bishop Barron thought that this would be the appropriate place to bring together the community in prayer and gratitude,” says Thomas Aquinas College President Michael F. McLean. “We are delighted to host this Mass of Thanksgiving in Our Lady of the Most Trinity Chapel, which — like all of our buildings — is still standing, thanks to the grace of God and the efforts of so many heroic firefighters.”

The Mass will take place on Wednesday, January 10, at 11:30 a.m. in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel on the campus of Thomas Aquinas College.