Greetings! Just a note of gratitude to Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman and Russian River Fire District President Mark Emmett and the volunteer firefighters and sheriff’s deputies. Thanks to volunteers Frank Danzart, daughter Denise and her husband Brian Britton, Frank’s son-in-law Bronson Johnson, Rosie Bohnie and Gail Culverwell, Dave Gillespie, Dan Bajone, and Muff Centiss and Lonnie and Chris from Monte Rio.
The late great humorist, Erma Bombeck, told the story of what happened to her in Church one Sunday. She said,
“I was focused on a small child who was turning around and smiling at everyone. He wasn’t gurgling, spitting, humming, kicking, tearing the hymnals, or rummaging through his mother’s handbag. He was just… smiling. “Finally, his mother jerked him about and in a stage whisper that could be heard in a little theater off Broadway said: ‘Stop that grinning! You’re in Church!’ With that, she gave him a glare, and, as the tears rolled down his cheek, the mother added, ‘That’s better,’ and returned to her prayers.” Bombeck reflected, “We sing, ‘Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!’ while our faces reflect the sadness of one who has just buried a rich aunt who left everything to her pregnant hamster.” She continued, “Suddenly I was angry. It occurred to me the entire world is in tears, and if you’re not, then you’d better get with it. I wanted to grab this child with the tear-stained face close to me and tell him about my God. The happy God. The smiling God. The God who had to have a sense of humor to have created the likes of us. I wanted to tell him He is an understanding God. One who understands little children who turn around and smile in Church, and even curious little children who rummage through their mothers’ handbags. I wanted to tell that little child that I too have taken a few lumps for daring to smile in an otherwise solemn religious setting. By tradition, I suppose, one wears faith with the solemnity of a mourner, the mask of tragedy. What a fool, I thought, this woman sitting next to the only sign of hope — the only miracle left in our civilization. If that child couldn’t smile in Church then where was there left to go?”
When a child learns to say a new word there is delight in the new discovery. And as the child continues to repeat the new word that she or he has just learned, there is joy all round. . Regrettably, when we allow the child within us to die there is no longer “joy all around.” In terms of what we need to know about living the good life, it’s as though we see no possibility of hearing some new word from God; it’s as though we see no possibility of change, no possibility of spiritual growth, no possibility of new life. Absent these childlike qualities, the joy has gone out of our lives! In those difficult times when you feel overwhelmed by a sense of abandonment, a sense of lost-ness, in childlike fashion put all of your trust in a Gracious God on whom you can depend always to seek you out. And He will find you!
In today’s Lesson, therefore, Jesus is telling us that only the spirit of childlike, unconditional trust in God’s promise to fulfill us in His life of love can liberate us from the heavy burden of obligation that hangs like a dark cloud over our religious experience. So let us “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!” With smiling faces, we give thanks to the One who says, “Let the little children come to Me, for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs” — a word from the Lord that should make miles of smiles!
Peace and blessings!
LITURGICAL MUSIC CORNER
by our Music Director, Rebecca Brown
Oct. 4, 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh .”
Today’s readings touch on many things: the creation of woman from the first man: the suffering of Jesus; the indissolubility of marriage, the fact that we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of God. As we sing the hymns today, let us remember that God created the world out of love, and let us pray that through the power of God, we may receive that love and spread it to others, especially our spouses, our children, and all those around us. As we do so, let us pray for the safety and protection of all abused women and children in the world, and for the healing of all marriages. God bless you!
Songs for the 9 am Mass:
Gathering Song: Morning Has Broken # 646
Gloria in excelsis Deo, gloria, gloria!
Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra, terra pax.
Additional words to the Gloria are found in your Breaking Bread hymnal, p. 6.
Psalm 128: May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Preparation of Gifts: Love Goes On # 491
Communion: Shelter Me, O God # 474
Recessional: We Are Called # 630
FIREFIGHTERS RETURN FROM LAKE COUNTY TO CLEAN UP ST. ELIZABETH’S PROPERTY
Sonoma County required that St. Elizabeth clean up the property abutting Fife Creek to prevent flooding in Fife Creek and to prevent public health hazards from unsanitary conditions of transient encampments. St. Elizabeth’s parish and the Guerneville community are deeply grateful to Chief Steve Baxman of the Monte Rio Fire Dept., Mark Emmet, President of the Russian River Fire Protection District , Brian Britton and foreman Rick DiCarly of the Sonoma County Dept. of Transportation & Public Works, headed by Nathan Mayo, and Sonoma County Sheriff’s Dept., who collaborated, directed by Frank Danzart, in a 160 volunteer hour effort on Saturday, September 26, assisted by parish volunteers. West County Disposal donated the debris box and the Refuse Dept. waived the dumping fees. The Road Dept provided a back hoe, loader and long arm mower. Steve Baxman hauled a chipper and fire fighters – who had just come off the Valley fire – cleared a significant portion of the property before being called to a fire. They returned in a few hours and finished. The project had been originally scheduled for Sept. 19 but was postponed due to the fires in Lake County.
The project will hopefully prevent detritus from floating into Fife Creek and contributing to flooding. The cleanup is further complicated by social and public health problems. Chronic encampments of transients have used the area behind the altar of the outdoor church as bathroom. They have also grafitied the back of the altar (see photo below.)
It is probable that even if housing were provided, many of these behavioral problems would persist, as this population is habituated to the area and are non compliant with signs designating the area as private property. Sheriff’s officers described a frustrating cycle of receiving complaint calls and moving people from one location to another around the community. Across the US public and private spaces are occupied by people, many of them mentally ill, who would previously had been cared for by mental institutions that are now closed. It not just an inconvenience to property owners, it is a disowning responsibility for this population who are unable to care for themselves, and poor public health policy. Numbers of mental patients are likely to increase due to grants given to West County Medical Services to expand services for mental illness. Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul are the local Catholic social services in the area. Please consider volunteering.
Special thanks to our parishioners who participated, as well as neighbors: Bronson Johnson (Frank’s son-in-law and newly expecting father), Daniel Bajone (who restored the bell and crucifix for the outdoor church this summer); Brian Britten, Daniel Olson, Dave Gillespie, Gail Culverwell, and Muff Centiss who came from Monte Rio with Lonnie and Chris, young volunteers. It was wonderful to see the community working together. Again, we express our appreciation to the fire fighters, knowing the exhausting work they did last week fighting the Lake County fires.
Mark Emmet, RRFD President and member of the Russian River Community Alliance, emphasized that the parish must not enable the alcoholic and drug addicted behaviors and that Guerneville as a community must try to get these people into appropriate programs. He suggested that St. Elizabeth, as the property owner, should monitor the grounds daily and evict campers.
Everyone understands how difficult this is and we ask that any communications regarding the matter be conducted with a civilized tone and recognition of the complexity of the issues.