The anniversary of the October 2017 Fire is quickly approaching. At St. Rose we want to be very respectful of each family's situation. All of us who live in Sonoma County were affected by the fire in varying degrees and everyone is on their own trajectory of healing. I would like you to be mindful of several October dates so you can plan accordingly.
Monday, October 8th will be Grandparents'/Special Friends' Day. Each year the date for this event is selected to coincide with a day that the Cardinal Newman students are not on campus. This allows for plenty of parking for our guests. I am looking forward to greeting these special grandparents and friends, especially since the event was cancelled last year due to the fire. Many of our guests may not have been on campus since the rebuild/remodel of our school and I look forward to showing them all of the improvements. If the weather is warm, they can even enjoy the new HVAC system in the classrooms.
Of course the fire will be mentioned, but we will not be dwelling on it. Dismissal will be at 12:30 that day and teachers will be working on accreditation tasks in the afternoon. Although Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day is greatly enjoyed by many, I am aware that it can be an emotional day for some children whose grandparents are far away or no longer with us. Some families handle that by having another relative or friend attend and a few families choose to keep their children home.
Tuesday, October 9th will be a normal school day with a special focus on the virtue of gratitude as we commemorate the fire and celebrate our resiliency. We will have Mass at 9:30 AM that morning. The theme of the Mass will be counting our many blessings, personally and as a school community. In the classrooms, along with routine school work, teachers will engage the students in hopeful, upbeat activities to recall and thank all of the many people and groups who helped and supported our school in the aftermath of the fire.
Experts say that hardships are easier to bear when we can stay focused on thankfulness. The teachers and I trust that the emphasis on gratitude and progress will help our students further develop their capacity for resilience, empathy, and hope without minimizing the losses borne by so many in our community.
On Sunday October 7th, Cardinal Newman is hosting an ecumenical prayer service called "Together In Hope" to commemorate the fires. Some of the activities will take place on our campus as well. It promises to be a lovely event. There will be more details in the weeks to come.