Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez issued the following letter March 23 to the Our Mother of Consolation Parish community following a devastating fire that tore through the school building the afternoon of Tuesday, March 21.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
My heart dropped with deep sorrow when I learned of the fire that tore through the Our Mother of Consolation School building on Tuesday afternoon. This moment is challenging in many ways and I know it comes with a great deal of pain and anxiety for all of you.
We join our voices in Thanksgiving to God that no one from the school or parish was injured and for the swift response of the Philadelphia Fire Department. Because of their timeliness and professionalism, the blaze did not spread to the church or other nearby buildings. Our first responders put themselves at great risk to serve us each day and we owe them a collective debt of gratitude.
While this is a difficult time, it is not one of despair. Much work has already been done to provide for the educational needs of school families and to ensure safety on the grounds of the parish.
I spoke to your pastor, Father John Fisher, on Tuesday. I ended that conversation knowing that you are blessed to have his leadership and understanding that the OMC community is a resilient and tight knit one. I know that you will continue working with one another toward recovery and that God will give you strength. You are also not alone. In just the past few days there has been an outpouring of support in so many ways from Archdiocesan offices, neighboring parishes and Catholic schools, local colleges, and civic officials.
The assistance being offered to you now and that you will continue to receive in the days ahead is a reflection of God’s love. That love is a powerful gift that can and will overcome the challenges you face. I am praying intensely for all of you. May God bless you and may Our Mother of Consolation bring you peace.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Nelson J. Pérez, D.D.
Archbishop of Philadelphia
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