Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Oct. 26, 2014

Pastors Desk

There is a wonderful fable about an orphan girl who had no family and no one to love her. One day, feeling exceptionally sad and lonely, she was walking through a meadow when she noticed a small butterfly caught unmercifully in a thorn bush. The more the butterfly struggled to free itself, the deeper the thorns cut into its fragile body. The young orphan girl carefully released the butterfly from its captivity. Instead of flying away, the little butterfly changed into a beautiful “Good Fairy.” The young girl rubbed her eyes in disbelief. “For your wonderful kindness,” the Good Fairy said to the girl, “I will grant you any wish you would like.” The little girl thought for a moment, then replied, “I want to be happy!” The fairy said, “Very well,” and leaned toward her and whispered in her ear. Then the good fairy vanished.
As the little girl grew up, there was no one in the land as happy as she. Everyone asked her the secret of her happiness, but she would only smile and answer, “The secret of my happiness is that I listened to a Good Fairy when I was a little girl.”
When she was very old, and on her deathbed, the neighbors all gathered around her, afraid that her fabulous secret of happiness would die with her. “Tell us, please,” they begged. “Tell us what the Good Fairy said.” The lovely old woman smiled, and then replied sweetly, “She told me that everyone, no matter how secure they seemed, no matter how old or young, how rich or poor, HAD NEED OF ME.” [Van Ekeren, “The Secret of Happinnes,”]
We show the depth of our love for God in the depth of our love for one another — all those that have need of us. If our concern for those who need us is shallow, so too is our love for God. And it matters not how often we withdraw to Church and offer words of praise and thanks and love to God. Those words won’t mean a thing unless they are indicative of a change of heart toward our neighbor. I wonder do we really believe that?
All through the Gospels, Jesus is trying to help us understand that although there is pleasure in material things — many of the things that satisfy human appetites, nevertheless there is only one way in which we can be in touch with the ultimate Source of genuine joy, genuine happiness — and that is to open ourselves up to God’s Presence in our lives. “You must love the Lord your God!” Let’s stop right here and drink it in.
What are the implications of this commandment? How do we manifest our love for God? We communicate this to Him in the experience of prayer, of course. We position ourselves in God’s Presence and we give thanks that He is a loving God. We thank Him for the gift of life, for the things of life He has given us to possess and enjoy. We thank Him for telling us, through Jesus, that we are not abandoned on planet earth. That even now, He is Gracing the world and its people, moving us toward the blessed state of fulfillment we need and want. But we can say “Thank you Lord, thank you Lord” a thousand times. And we can say “I love you, Lord, I love you Lord” ten-thousand times and still not have understood the implications of the command to “Love the Lord your God.” The command to love God cannot be understood as long as we make the mistake of regarding the one that follows — “Love your neighbor as yourself” — as a separate command.
In today’s Gospel Lesson, Jesus is asked, “Which commandment of the law is greatest?” And He responds by quoting the Old Testament law of love: First, “You must love the Lord your God,” and second, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” But Jesus has taken us beyond an understanding of the law of love in any chronological way. According to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, love of God and love of neighbor are inseparable.
We cannot say we love God in a Christian way if at the same time we have something against our brother or sister. Someone has written that human love can be compared to the sunshine which shines brightly on the trees of the forest. The trees sink into the earth and finally are dug up as coal. When the coal burns, it returns the light and heat that came from the sun. Like the trees which receive sunlight, the human heart receives the capacity to love from God. Then, in union with another heart, love burns, and returns again to God the love that came from Him. And I can think of no more beautiful definition of genuine happiness than that. In union with the heart of another, especially those who need us most, let us pray: Oh, Lord, “make us THAT happy.” Just as the sunshine and the trees and the heat and the light are inseparable, so too may our Love of God, and Love of neighbor be also.
Fr. Luis


This information is in the bulletin, but printed here for your convenience:

Liturgical Music Corner, by our music director, Rebecca Brown
Oct. 26, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
On this Sunday, Jesus tells us that the two greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. The scripture readings for this Sunday speak of God’s love for the poor and how we are to be imitators of the Lord, turning to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and Jesus Christ who rose from the dead. Our hope is in Jesus, who teaches us how to love as He loved us. Let us strive to do this, as we pray together the songs for today’s 9am Mass:
Gathering Song: “Lord Whose Love in Humble Service” # 806
Psalm: “I Love You, Lord My Strength”
Preparation of the Gifts: “Set Your Heart on the Higher Gifts”


Communion: “The Cry of the Poor”—Refrain: “The Lord hears the cry of the poor, blessed be the Lord”
Next Sunday, November 2nd, is All Souls Day. We have a special hymn called Lux Aeterna Litany (Eternal light) in which the cantor chants the names of our loved ones who have died. If you would like your loved one remembered in the litany, please call the parish office with his or her name and it will be forwarded to Rebecca Brown, our choir director. Or you may call her directly at 707-795-1050.

Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time October 19, 2014


There is an ancient legend, about a tyrannical, all powerful king who was able to work his will on his subjects in all things.  All things except one:  he was unable to destroy their belief in God.  So he summoned his three wisest advisors and asked them, “Where can I hide the people’s God so they will not be able to find Him?”  Said the first wise man: “Hide their God beyond the farthest star; there they will not be able to find him.”  Said the second wise man, “Not so! Someday these people will learn to fly beyond the stars, and then they will find their God.  Rather hide Him on the floor of the sea.”  Said the third wise man, “Not so! One day these people will learn to travel to the bottom of the deepest ocean and then they will find their God.  Rather, hide him in the everyday lives of the people; there no one will find Him!”

Of course God has no hiding place on earth.  All the lands are God’s– all the skies, all the waters, are God’s–all the animals are God’s.  And all the people are God’s–the proud and the humble; the rich and the poor; the hypocrites and the faithful; the Kings and the subjects, without distinction.

Back in the 90’s, Dennis Byrd, then a twenty-something defensive lineman for the New York Jets, suffered a career ending injury to his spine.  But deep within he continued to see himself as the focus of God’s loving care, even though, externally, he no longer possessed the attributes that had once brought him fame and wealth.  In his autobiography, “Rise and Walk,”  Byrd writes: “That’s the miracle! That is the magic!  It’s knowing that all of life is a blessing, that the Lord is with us even if we falter.  He is with us even if we fail.  He is with us when we break, and He can make us whole.  I’ve always believed that.  And I always will.”

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to relate to Mr. Byrd’s story.  We all falter.  We all fail.  And we all break.  And as a Christian community we should be ever-mindful that the Lord is with us at those times–especially at those times–to pick up the pieces and make us whole again.

As a people of faith, may we rejoice together as we say, “We’ve always believed that, and we always will.”


Peace and blessings!

Fr. Luis


Oct. 18 and19, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The scripture readings for today speak of the greatness and majesty of God: “I am the Lord and there is no other…”, “for great is the Lord and highly to be praised, awesome is he beyond all gods”.  Our gospel today reminds us that, although we are to obey the laws of the land, our first allegiance is to God. When we do this, we are “lights to the world”, as our Gospel Acclamation for today states:  “shine like lights in the world as you hold on to the word of life”. 

Sing a New Song  #788

Gloria: Alonso

Psalm:  Give the Lord glory and honor  (R&A)

Gospel acclamation:  Celtic I(G)

Preparation of Gifts:  Blest Are We  # 668

Holy:  Mass of Creation

Memorial Acclamation:  When we eat (Mass of Creation)

Amen:  new from Word and Song  # 259, Bolduc (F)

Lamb of God:  Mass of Renewal (usual)

Communion:  We Are the Light of the World  # 803  (Dm)

Recessional:  Come Let Us Sing With Joy to the Lord  # 798

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Oct. 12, 2014

Pastor’s Desk

These days, people are getting very creative when they don’t want to go to work.  According to one survey, more than one-third of U.S. workers say they played hooky from work over the last 12 months.  Twenty percent of workers say they called into work because they just didn’t feel like going into the office that day.  In fact, only 38 percent of unscheduled absences are due to personal illness, while 62 percent are for other reasons, including family issues, personal needs, and stress, among others.

So this weekend I have Top 10 list to share, as reported in the survey, this one listing some of the most unusual excuses workers gave to their employers for missing work.

Number 10:           I was sprayed by a skunk

Number 9:             I tripped over my dog and was knocked unconscious

Number 8:             I forgot to come back to work after lunch.

Number 7:             I couldn’t find my shoes

Number 6:             I was spit on by a venomous snake.

Number 5:             I totaled my car in a collision with a cow.

Number4:              A hit man was looking for me.

Number 3:             I eloped.

Number 2:             My brain went to sleep and I couldn’t wake it up.

And the Number 1 excuse:  My cat unplugged the alarm clock!

Now those are what I call some creative excuses! But many, if not all seem to be lacking something and that something is the truth!  In Luke’s account of the parable of the great banquet, we read, “But they all alike began to make excuses [Luke14:18].

Today’s parable clearly suggests that the invited guests did not actually refuse the king’s invitation.  They merely find reasons to procrastinate and make excuses for coming late.  The invited guests seem to decide that their arrival can be put off for a few hours. In their view the feast that had been prepared for them could wait.

In the matter of our invitation into the kingdom of God, the truth is, our presence is urgently requested.  There can be no excuses! There can be not putting it off!  The time is now! The banquet that God has prepared cannot wait! And in answering the call, should you ever feel the urge to procrastinate, I have not ten, but just one thing to say: I hope and pray that you never get around to it!


Fr. Luis


News: Fr. Robert Barron announced that his WORD ON FIRE YouTube channel has passed the ten million views mark. He is celebrating with a give away of DVDs and books at 

It’s a beautiful time to visit the wine country!  The harvest crush season is ending and the wineries are able to visit with you, the vineyards will reach peak color in a week or so. The photo below is from a vineyard on River Road, which is the road you will take from Hwy 101 to reach Guerneville. In addition to St. Elizabeth’s and the two mission churches in Monte Rio and Cazadero, there are two other nearby churches, St. Teresa of Avila in Bodega Bay, and St. Philip’s in Occidental.

Roller Coaster Hill along River Road at Harvest
Roller Coaster Hill along River Road at Harvest

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – October 5, 2014

Pastor’s Desk
Life is a succession of high expectations and broken dreams. And
when hope grows dim at a very deep level of our being, often we
become desperate. Each day of our life with varying degrees of
intensity, the question gnaws at us: Why? Why does it have to be like
this? We want something better out of life than this. In our heart of
hearts we always are searching, desperately searching for the one big
definitive, conclusive answer to the question, “Why?” And the search
goes on —but what are we looking for? We are looking for love (with
a capital “L”), for God is love and, through our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ, we are fulfilled in love.
Stop and think! Stop and reflect! Stop and search deep within your
soul until you can clearly see the full implications of what it means to
love the Lord your God! Stop until your soul has grasped, as a matter
of Christian Faith, that love of God and love of neighbor are
Someone has said, “God wants spiritual fruit not religious nuts.” The
Lord has said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” This is the
spiritual fruit that we must produce. And as Jesus tells us in today’s
Gospel, the reward for producing this fruit is the very kingdom of God!
On a visit to Italy, a man drove out one glorious afternoon to a famous
monastery in the hills of Fiesole, a breathtakingly scenic town located
in the hills above Florence. He visited the beautiful 15th century
Church, examined the exquisite illuminated manuscripts, and viewed
the magnificent works of art, all as he said, “raised to the honor and
glory of the Lord.” Later, wandering into the monastery garden, he
discovered the greatest treasure of them all. There he fell into
conversation with an old man, a gentle soul, bent with toil and
rheumatism, yet still bright of eye. For more than 30 years he had
tilled that patch of earth, making work his constant prayer. The visitor
asked the caretaker, why at his age, he still worked so hard, cultivating
the land. The kindly old man pointed to the orchard and said, “I see
my cherry trees in bud, and then I see them in flower, and then I see
them in fruit. And then I believe in God.”
As disciples of the Lord, we are called to cultivate God’s love in the
people we see, in all seasons: in the new buds of forgiveness — in the
fragrant flowers of compassion—in the loving fruits of our Christian
As disciples of the Lord, we are called to bear fruitful witness to the
Lord who is telling us, “You will recognize, by their fruits, the persons
whose trust in God’s love brings them under His rule. You will know
them by the difference this Faith has made in the way they live, for
“The kingdom of God will be given to a people who will produce its
Fr. Luis

Fr. Luis Penaloza, Pastor, St. Elizabeth's Guerneville and the Mission Churches
Fr. Luis Penaloza, Pastor, St. Elizabeth’s Guerneville and the Mission Churches


Thank you to our Music Ministry for adding music to our liturgy. The parishioners gave applause at the end of the 9:00 AM mass in appreciation for the beautiful music.

Note: At the request of the Music Director, all videos of the choir have been removed due to concerns over copyright infringements.

Rummage Sale Sat Oct 4 Nine to Three; Sun Oct 5 Nine to Noon. Above: Margaret Mactee delivering her donations to the rummage sale.

Rummage Sale Sat Oct 4 Nine to Three; Sun Oct 5 Nine to Noon. Above: Margaret McAtee delivering her donations to the rummage sale.

RUMMAGE SALE: We got off to an early start Tuesday because Carlos Gonzales had set up all the tables for us before we arrived! Thank you Carlos! By Sunday we earned close to $2,900 but in truth, the greater value of the rummage sale is in helping people find warm clothing, socks, shoes, gloves and scarves for the winter. We apply a sliding scale to pricing and we have many customers who donate cash during the sale. For years Ila Donovan ran the clothing dept and her regular customers return year after year.

Something for everyone! The fun of a rummage sale is meeting people from the community and learning about their hobbies, needs and interests. It's a fun, face to face kind of experience that loses in translation when done on the internet!
Something for everyone! The fun of a rummage sale is meeting people from the community and learning about their hobbies, needs and interests. It’s a fun, face to face kind of experience that loses in translation when done on the internet!

Due to her recent accident that role is taken by Janis Brown, who does a meticulous job of picking through and finding just the right items for people. All clothing items are clean and in good condition, without stains or blemishes. Left over clothes are passed on to St. Andrew’s Church Closet in Monte Rio to be given out free of charge on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. (First and Third Tuesdays offer free dinners a 4:30.)

Saturday Morning of our Rummage Sale. Proceeds help defray operating costs of the church.
Saturday Morning of our Rummage Sale. Proceeds help defray operating costs of the church. Photo by Gina Asaro Busalacchi
Guys having fun with hats
Guys having fun with hats

Bedding and electronics are passed on to the Redwood Mission. They repair some of the electronic which provides training and employment through the Redwood Mission. Thank you to our very hard working volunteer staff who work all week prior and during the event. Volunteers and donors included Fran Korn, Guild President, Joe Torres, Janis Brown, Guild Vice President, Ken and Jean Koutz, Guild Treasurer, Mary Ann Gustafson, Patty Mannick, Zoe Manzo, Vera Bohan, Carlos Gonzales, Charlie Arata, Anna Maria Cabrina, Gina Asaro Busalicchi, Margaret McAtee, Irene Deem, and Joan Brown. Please let me know if I have forgotten anyone. Thank you very much to our donors – we had wonderful things to sell, very nice clothes, household items, etc. Finally, thank you to our customers! We are so grateful for your support of the rummage sale and we had a lot of fun serving you!

To our fellow parishioners we once again extend an invitation to join the Guild or to volunteer during our fund raisers! Our next event will be the Christmas dinner and we would love to have new volunteers participate!

St. Elizabeth's Guild Rummage Sale
St. Elizabeth’s Guild Rummage Sale