Saint Barbara Province Friar Community Weathers the Storms in California


Erick Lopez, OFM, novitiate director of the Interprovincial Novitiate at Old Mission Santa Barbara in Southern California, mops up water in the church’s flooded Sacristy.

While unrelenting storms and deadly flooding and mudslides have been battering California since last Dec. 27, the friar community of Saint Barbara Province, thankfully, hasn’t experienced any life-threatening situations or major damage to friaries and ministry sites. Minimal damage has been reported at the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara in Southern California, which houses the 18th century Mission’s Interprovincial Novitiate, where Erick Lopez, OFM, and Gene Pistacchio, OFM, serve as novitiate director and formator for U.S. OFM novices, respectively.

Mark Schroeder, OFM, guardian of Old Mission Santa Barbara, reports that the next city south, Montecito, was hit hard with flooding. “But Santa Barbara just had roads that needed to be closed and we lost power for a day – and we found new leaks in a few ceilings and in the Old Mission Sacristy,” said Mark. “We still managed to help at the homeless outreach ministry that we serve Monday through Friday.”

Mission Creek looks more like a rushing river from the rain storms.

Trees were uprooted on the property of Old Mission Santa Barbara.

Friars in the Bay Area, where the provincial office is located, said the region experienced rare thunderstorms and a weather occurrence that is even more rare – hail storms. Friars at Old Mission Santa Barbara made a Facebook post of several photos of the effects of the storms – among them uprooted trees and flooding at the old pottery, Erick mopping up the water in the church’s flooded Sacristy, and the Mission Creek that looked more like a rushing river.