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Bishop reaches out to bushfire victims

BISHOP Anthony Fisher of Parramatta has visited two school communities impacted by the ongoing bushfires in the Blue Mountains Deanery.

The diocese’s Catholic Education communications manager Annette Loughlin-Smith said the bishop visited St Thomas Aquinas and St Columba’s schools in the badly affected Springwood area on October 28.

Ms Loughlin-Smith said Bishop Fisher had told staff and students at school assemblies that he was praying for them.

“He also kept saying how proud he was of their actions during the fire and how proud he was to be their bishop,” she said.

Staff at both Catholic Springwood schools also met on October 25 for a debrief and prayer time with counsellors present.

Ms Loughlin-Smith said four staff members from the schools had homes destroyed by fire and two staff from other schools had also lost homes.

About 200 homes were destroyed by bushfires in the Springwood area soon after the first outbreaks.  One person died.

Fire destroyed a heritage-listed house at the former St Columba’s College seminary.

Flames also came within metres of St Thomas Aquinas Church, which was evacuated after a small ember fire.

Most schools were closed throughout the region at the height of the fires during the week starting October 21, but all are now open.

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