The website of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish in Montecito, California, as of Jan. 19 listed the names of seven parishioners who perished (and one missing) in the recent mudlines that ravaged areas of Santa Barbara County. Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez flew by helicopter Jan. 14. to celebrate Mass for victims and survivors at Santa Barbara Mission, about 15 minutes from Monticeto. While some parishioners have lost loved ones as well as their homes, "the church and the grounds have been spared," Fr. Lawrence Seyer emailed NCR. The Our Lady of Mt. Carmel pastor said he had been evacuated to St. Mark Church in the Goleta area and that it would be two or three weeks "before we can return to the parish." Mudslides hit Montecito, a coastal town of about 9,000 northwest of Los Angeles, early Jan. 9 leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 homes destroyed.
Hunger is a primary reason victims fall prey to human trafficking, Presentation Sr. Rita Jovick recently told Catholic San Francisco newspaper. Jovick is a member of the Stop Slavery Coalition-Northern California, and her religious community is one of 11 Northern California congregations concentrating on labor and sexual exploitation.
A documentary on the life of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, created by students of St. Genevieve School in Panorama, California, will debut Feb. 2 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Titled "Dear Rosalynn," the 65-minute documentary evolved out of a relationship between the school and former President Jimmy Carter and his wife initiated by a letter written to Mrs. Carter in the 1985 by now-St. Genevieve President-Principal Dan Horn. Staff and students have visited the Carters over the years in Plains, Georgia, where the school's jazz ensemble performed for Mrs. Carter's 90th birthday last August. The documentary debut will raise funds for St. Genevieve Parish and schools' major building campaign. Both President and Rosalynn Carter will attend the Feb. 2 event, Horn told NCR. Horn also confirmed that the correct pronunciation of the former First Lady's first name is "Rose-ah-lin" not "Rawz-ah-lin." The film will be shown on the Rose Bowl Jumbotron. The venue can seat upwards of 90,000 people.
While Christmas 2017 is in our rear-view mirrors, there is nonetheless a fun story out of Little Rock, Arkansas, about a priest who played a role in candy cane history. Fr. Gregory Keller dabbled in making confectionary inventions for his brother-in-law's Georgia candy company and is credited with inventing a mechanized way of producing the "hook" that made the candy a cane rather than a stick. The priest's invention should not be confused with the Keller Machine in the movie "Dr. Who."
[Dan Morris-Young is NCR's West Coast correspondent. His email is email@example.com.]