Ghost Ship fire from the eyes of an ever-present chaplain

“When the second alarm buzzed his cell phone at 11:31 p.m. Friday, the Rev. Jayson Landeza got out of his bedclothes and into his “turnout” in the rectory of St. Benedict in East Oakland. By the time he’d driven his black Crown Victoria 10 minutes to the Ghost Ship fire, he’d transformed himself from Catholic priest to “minister of presence.” That’s his own patented job description where no sermonizing or administering of last rites is required. What he does is stand there with his coat open so his clerical collar is visible, with an open expression on his face to show that he’s approachable.

“We don’t do the Catholic thing,” he said in an interview Wednesday at the nearby Wendy’s which has served as his temporary sanctuary during the five days and nights he has been at the scene of the tragedy that claimed the lives of 36 people. “I’m just here to listen to folks and attend to their basic needs,” Landeza said. More @ SF Chronicle.

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About The Rev. Thomas C. Jackson

Ordained to the priesthood in December, 2010.
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