Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 13, 2017

Today’s gospel tells us the story of Peter’s attempt to walk on water and illustrates the role that faith plays in determining whether we sink or swim (Matt:14:22-33). Fr. Luis’ prefaced his homily with a cute joke, then encouraged parishioners to ponder the level of faith they have and to understand that even though one is a life-long Catholic, one is tasked with studying and praying to keep their faith strong.

This writer missed the rest of the homily because she happened to look back and notice smoke rising from a pile of wood chips at the back of the property, and she notified Bob Dunne, a retired SF fireman, who called 911. As the sister of a fireman, she felt obligated to walk over to the fire station, since cell reception is usually poor in the summer church location. However, the truck was already headed out the door so the call was successfully transmitted. Once again we thank our firefighters for protecting our lives and our property.

“YOU AGAIN!” The ubiquitous Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman appeared soon after the Guerneville Fire Dept rig arrived. Steve saved St. Catherine of Siena Church in Monte Rio by spotting the smoke early and calling in the alarm before the all wood structure burned to the ground.
Spontaneous combustion was the cause of the fire. Firemen spread the chips and successfully stopped the spread of combustion. Christina Gibbs of the SF Fire Dept was on hand with her children attending mass. Our parish is blessed with many fire dept. personnel.

After the excitement, people headed out to attend the annual picnic at Northwood scheduled for 1:00 PM. We enjoyed a good turnout of 65, which is about the same as last year. The menu featured two salads, succulent slow cooked ribs and perfectly cooked tri tip steak with lemon tarts topped with berries, courtesy of Francine Korn.

Perfect weather of low 80s and soft breeze made outdoor dining pleasant at Northwood.
Thank you to Chris at Northwood Restaurant for a delicious lunch!
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Special thanks to Francine Korn for the delicious lemon curd tarts! Francine hosted a birthday party on Saturday for 85 guests at the PeeWee Golf & Arcade in Guerneville! Meanwhile, she is fighting a cold and we wish her a speedy recovery.

106th Monte Rio Variety Show – July 27, 2017

Monte Rio Variety Show 2017
Violinist Mark O’Connor, left, and his band. Photo by Alvin/Jornada/Press Democrat.

The 106th Monte Rio Variety was a huge success with a healthy increase in admission and raffle tickets. The Press Democrat crowd estimate was 2000 and the event coordinator, Michele McDonell said this is the largest audience since the 100th Anniversary Show. Click HERE for the Press Democrat story and photos.


Rick Walsh and band  (Jazz)
Smokey (one of the longest running acts for the show as a storyteller, although has not performed in the past several years)
Dan Brower – National Anthem
John Ballachey (Jack Jones song)
Liv Taylor (James Taylor’s brother  – Folk Song)
Gary Muledeer (Comedy)
Shelly Berg  (Jazz Piano)
Billy Valentine (Pop Song)
Patrick Martin (Magician)
David Jackson (Comedy & Song)
Mark O’Connor Bank (bluegrass with fiddle)
Tim Huffman (Country song)
Phil Vassar (Country song)
Tim Nichols (Singer, guitarist, songwriter)
Ray Benson (Country song)
Kix Brooks and Friends ( Country, Finale)


The story of St. Catherine of Siena Church and the Bohemian Club goes back more than 100 years and is told well by parishioner Dan Demers here. The show provides funds for the Monte Rio School Foundation, Monte Rio Fire Services and St. Catherine of Siena Catholic church. St. Catherine of Siena is one of the two mission churches affiliated with St. Elizabeth, Guerneville.

Unfortunately Fr. Luis was under the weather, so parishioner Margaret MacAtee was asked to do the invocation, in which she thanked God for the talented performers and the hard work of the volunteers. She prayed those who traveled long distances to the show would have safe travels.

Fr. Luis was unable to do the invocation at the 106th Monte Rio Variety Show, unfortunately. Graciously, Margaret McAtee, long time parishioner and caretaker of St. Catherine’s in Monte Rio, gave the invocation. She thanked those individuals who gave their talent and time, and prayed for the safety of those travelling long distances for the show. The show, which benefits St. Catherine’s, as well as the Monte Rio School and Fire Services, enjoyed the largest audience since the 100th Anniversary Show. Thank you, Margaret, and everyone else who contributed to the success of this wonderful event. Michele McDonell will announce the date of the 107th show in 2018 soon! Photo credit: Alfred Bohny

Margaret has provided years of service to our parishes, serving as eucharistic minister and caretaker of St. Catherine of Siena. She played a very important role with the ATF in determining that arson was the cause of the 2015 fire. (Read that story here.)

This year’s Variety Show is especially joyful because we are seeing St. Catherine’s open temporarily, and her rededication on the horizon. Thank you Dan Demers for leading that project.

Here is PRESS DEMOCRAT report on the Variety show.

Here are a few snippets from the show

Gary Muledeer

Parish volunteers Michael Collins and Rosie Bohnie working the front gate. You’ll see these loyal volunteers working at the Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival Sept. 9 & 10th parking cars!




Thank you to the volunteers who work so hard to make this show a success, lead by Michele McDonell.

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 16, 2017

The agrarian parable of today’s gospel is poignant. We live in a beautiful farming community with fruit orchards, vineyards and verdant pastures which refer across the centuries to the “fields garmented with flocks and the valleys blanketed with grain” described in the Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 65. However, our stewardship for the land and for our spiritual life is dependent on how well we listen and see what God has given us. In the gospel of the sower of the seed, we are taught “This is why I speak in parabls, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.” The evil one is clever at confusing and misleading the faithful and we are urged by Fr. Luis to increase our effort to understand, to truly listen and see as God wishes.

At the end of mass we had a delightful blessing of newly confirmed Lorna Marie Hasting’s dog, Jules. Although Fr. Luis told us he was once bitten by a dog while trying to bless it, Jules took the sprinkling of water in good form and we all joined in a prayer thanking God for the animals and asking for grace to be good stewards.

We must remind everyone it is less than two weeks until the 106th Monte Rio Variety Show. For the first time in 106 years, the show has released some of the names of the entertainers. They include

  • 9 time Grammy Award Winner Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel)
  • Another Grammy Award Winner Kit Brooks of Brooks & Dunn
  • Grammy Award Winner song writer Tim Nichols (co-wrote “Live Like You Were Dying”

The Variety Show benefits the Monte Rio School Foundation, Monte Rio Fire Services and St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church. (See Dan Demer’s story “The Church the Bohemians Built.“)

Raffle prizes are fabulous: Dinner for 20 at the Union Hotel, Northwood Golf 1 year membership; River Rock Casino wine tasting and gambling package; Taste of Monte io gift package.Ticketsfotheaffle are 1 fo $5, 3 for $10 and 8 for $20. You need not be present to win.

The barbecue starts at 4:30, show starts at 6:30.

Admission tickets are $30.00 and after sold after masses in July or

Buy tickets online

The Monte Rio Variety Show website:

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Elaine and Tom both served in WWII.

Coffee and Treats after mass
Our prayers and love are extended to all our sisters and their families fighting cancer.
Our most popular item this summer has been our signature salmon salad on puff paste! Delicious fresh poached salmon with dill, onion and mayo, with Worcestershire sauce, the recipe is on the St. Elizabeth Guild page.




Sacrapantina Cake
If you grew up in San Francisco, this was THE First Communion cake from the Stella Bakery in North Beach. Our version features shaved chocolate on top and the Stella version has Amoretti crumbs. Flavored with Marsala, alternative versions include rum, chocolate or coffee. Here is the history of this cake:,-the-patented-cake.html,-the-patented-cake.html


Cake Pop Angels
White chocolate angels with dark chocolate cake inside! Yum!

Elaine Joyce to sing National Anthem at Giants Game July 23


92 year old mother of seven and former WWII Navy nurse, our own Elaine Joyce is singing the National Anthem at the Giants game on July 23! She is a long time member of St. Colman’s in Cazadero and she and husband Tom were RCIA instructors at St. Elizabeth’s in Guerneville. Here she is singing “Tangerine” on YouTube http://a%20href=. Elaine lost her beloved husband Tom several years ago and it is wonderful to see her do this!

Elaine and Tom both served in WWII.

St. Elizabeth Guild president Fran Korn texted us from Giants Stadium that Elaine did great! Sonoma West also ran this story

Elaine kills it! Twitter feedback great, people loved her, moved to tears.

Outdoor Church beautification

Altar planting
Heartfelt thanks to Larry Love and Jim Breaux for landscaping the altar of our Outdoor Church. Thank you also to Susan Poirier who brings us the gorgeous floral arrangement each Sunday from her garden. We are so blessed!



Larry Love and Jim Breaux watering St. Elizabeth's outdoor church garden which they donated.
Each Sunday before mass, Larry and Jim hand carry 40 gallons of water to irrigate their project.
St. Elizabeth's Outdoor Church Floral Arrangement b Sue Poirier
Sue Poirier puts a great deal of love and effort into her garden, and we are blessed each Sunday with her gorgeous altar arrangements.

Unfortunately, the wood chips were stolen the first week! Whoever is responsible, shame on you. Not only is this private property, it is consecrated ground. The community is welcome to visit and enjoy the shade and quiet beauty of the property.

We have had a chronic problem with graffiti, litter, and drug and alcohol abuse during the week. Please alert the sheriff immediately if you see anyone defacing the altar or the grounds, or drinking and doing drugs. Our neighbors suffer from the noise and public health issues created by this issue. We can all do our part to reclaim the outdoor church as a beautiful place for prayer and meditation.

Again our thanks to Jim, Larry and Sue.


Outdoor Church Cleanup 2017

For the past two Saturdays parishioners and community volunteers have worked hard to prepare the outdoor church property for summer.

A huge thank you to Sonoma County District Five Supervisor Lynda Hopkins for approving use of a mower and to the Sonoma County Transportation and Public Works Dept staff members Rob Howlin and Joe Gonzalez. Thank you also to District Director Susan Upchurch.

Using the mower not only makes the property look better, it makes it easier for the sheriffs to see negative behaviors which have plagued the area for years. Special thank you to Brian Britton who operated the mower and facilitated its loan.

From Cleanup Coordinator Gail Culverwell:

Our outdoor church is ready for Mass this weekend thanks to the many volunteers who raked, broomed and power-washed plus gathering all the debris and hauling it off.
Jim Rossi, Lorna Marie Hastings, Jose Benjamin Robles, Jose Chavez, Brian Britton, Denise Britton, Jim Breaux, Larry Love, Rosie Bohny, Frank Danzart, Kathy Karnath, Lyle Karnath, Denise Goodwin, Barbara Seymour, Irene Deem, Dan Bajone, Wallace William III, Ernie Loconsolo, Gail Culverwell, Eric Lindenbusche, Francine Korn, John O’Connell and Damien Olsen.
Behind the scenes helping us make it work, we very much appreciate County staff Lynda Hopkins, Susan Upchurch, Rob Houwling, and Joe Gonzalez.
Great Job all and thank you!

This is the finished result:

Here is video of the clean up crew on Saturday, June 24

Power washing the pews helps remove the graffiti and debris resulting from the flooding each year.

Grafiti at St. Elizabeth's outdoor church in Guerneville, CA Graffiti continues to be a problem but by clearing the property and encouraging people to use it for meditation we hope to discourage negative behaviors. Clearing the undergrowth of brush will help the sheriffs get a clearer visual of the property.[/caption]
Clearing away brush improves visibility of homeless encampments and behavioral problems for law enforcement.
North end of the property now cleared; has previously had dense undergrowth with multiple encampments. The debris is carried by winter flooding into Phyfe Creek and the Russian River.
The redoubtable Frank Danzart who has lead this clean up for more than 40 years and also provides year round clean ups. Frank turns 90 this year and is a respected pillar of St. Elizabeth’s parish.


Thank you, Fran Korn, for the photos below!






We apologize for missing some names and are working on getting them.

Thank you all again for your hard work! God bless you and see you next Sunday!

Pentecost Sunday, June 4, 2017


Our beautiful floral arrangement is from Antiquarian and Florabunda in Duncans Mills.

Gospel Acclamation:”Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.” 

Pentecost Sunday Vigil Mass (Saturday evening 5:00 PM0 included the lighting of seven candles representing the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. Pentecost marks the end of the Easter Season and a return to Ordinary Time. We pray the fruits of the Lenten and Easter season will carry into ordinary time in your walk of faith. Fr. Luis reminded us to have grateful hearts, to be appreciative of the people in our lives whose generosity contributes to the quality of our lives. He cautioned us against the influence of individualism which is prevalent in our culture, and encouraged us to continue our efforts to grow in faith and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

He mentioned Sherilyn Parmeter’s gift, representing St. Elizabeth’s Guild, of chocolates for the mothers on Mother’s Day, and he encouraged parishioners to thank the Guild for this week end’s Rummage Sale.

Pentecost Sunday Mass 9:00 AM

Our cantor, Eric Lindenbusch singing the Psalm for Pentecost Sunday

Our parish is very blessed to have two people who were confirmed on Holy Saturday and who were given their confirmation names today. Lorna Marie chose St. Teresa of Calcutta and Carolyn chose St. Teresa of Liseux. It is such a joy to hear them tell of their RCIA experience and faith journey:

As described above, the mass for Pentecost included a candle lighting ceremony celebrating the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Narration by Steve Brown

The choir ended the Easter Season as they began it, with the Hallelujah Chorus. This is a very challenging piece of music and we are so grateful to our choir for mastering it!

Celebration of Steve and Rebecca Brown’s Wedding Anniversary

Note: Outdoor Church Cleanup Dates: Saturday, June 10 and Saturday, June 17

Note to the Guild Volunteers: While your reward will be in heaven, on Sunday after the sale we will celebrate with chocolate truffles! See below:



Thank you to the Guild volunteers who have worked all week organizing the sale and will continue working restoring St. Hubert’s Hall to proper order. Thank you to all who supported the Rummage Sale which supports not only St. Elizabeth’s and the mission churches of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Coleman, but also the various local charities that St. Elizabeth’s Guild supports.

Dovarietyshown’t forget to mark your calendars for Thursday, July 27, the date of the 106th Annual Monte Rio Variety Show!

This is always an amaing show which benefits the Monte Rio School, the Fire Dept., and St. Catherine of Siena.