But that’s what parishioners at the Hacienda Heights Church are doing, reports Father “Ricky” Viveros, the associate pastor who awoke to the sounds of shattering glass and looked out his bedroom window to see the contemporary California mission-style church engulfed in flames.“We’re really as clergy making sure that we’re praying about that,” he told The Tidings, two weeks to the day after the blaze gutted the church dedicated by Cardinal James Francis McIntyre in November 1969. “So especially during the weekday Masses, we’re making sure that one of our petitions is for the person or persons who did this --- to really reinforce that we can’t tackle evil with evil. “Especially during the Easter season, we’re reminded that Christ forgave the people who killed him. So if we claim to be followers of Christ, we have to do as he did. You know, he was our perfect example. And that’s not easy, and we know it’s not easy. It is hard and very, very painful.“But I have to say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised,” added the gregarious priest. “I haven’t really heard vengeful things. Maybe one or two people, but then they come up to me and they go, ‘You know, Father, you’re right. We should be praying for them.’ So I’ve been really surprised and blessed to see this is a giving community.”Before the 5:15 vigil Mass on April 30, Bob and Sharon Altman were setting up their outdoor booth for the following day’s “Round-up” Sunday, when parishioners are recruited as volunteers for the church’s annual “Early California Days” fundraiser June 3-5.“Every time I turn in the driveway, I think it’s a dream,” said Sharon, glancing across the parking lot at the burnt-out church.“I don’t think you ever get quite over the shock,” Bob acknowledged.Both agreed that their church (since 1973) being destroyed by arson added a gut-wrenching element, but it was time to forgive and to rebuild. “There’s a lot of things having to be moved around and changed,” Bob pointed out, “but people are being very flexible and it’s working out amazingly well. It’s just nice to see everybody pull together for a common cause.”“Definitely,” said Sharon. “We just thank the Lord nobody was hurt.”During the vigil Mass in the O’Callaghan Parish Center, 11 youths and teenagers received their First Communion. The girls wore white frilly dresses, while the boys donned white shirts, ties and dark slacks. After the late afternoon liturgy, many posed with Father Ricky for impromptu snapshots. Joseph Lopez, 15, called the fire a horrible tragedy. “There’s always tragedies, but this is one of the most horrible that’s ever been in my life,” he confided. But even these young people refused to condemn the arson or arsonists. Instead they maintained that out of the ashes good was actually happening. Joseph’s cousin, Chris Thomas, 17, described the “short-notice” liturgy in the parish hall as beautiful. “I felt the unity, even though we weren’t 100 percent organized like we usually are in our church,” he said.And Chris’ sister Victoria, 19, who also made her First Communion, readily agreed. “I think it takes something this big to open people’s eyes and bring us back together,” she said.   {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/0506/fire/{/gallery}