he OLM community is the thread that ties many Malibu families together. Wonderful people of this parish have shared our special family events and supported us through harder times. Our children attended the parish school and were nurtured by loving teachers, staff and administration. The parents of their classmates have become our good friends even as our children grew up and went to college. We find ourselves reconnecting with parish members through our shared interest and values. As I look back on a tapestry of 22 years in Malibu, so many of my valued memories involve OLM events, service commitments and friends.
Ellen (& John) Cerniglia
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n April 2003, we moved to Malibu -- a decision spurred by one of those "I never thought it would happen to us" moments. In 2002, while I was pregnant with our daughter, I was diagnosed with a grade 4 brain tumor; a glioblastoma. The prognosis was grim. We were told odds were I wouldn't live to see our newborn walk. And so my husband and I lay in bed one night, going over the things I wanted to do.
By the time we had sat through an hour (which whizzed by),
we were absolutely sure OLM was the winner.
(Is it okay to declare a church "the winner?")
I wanted to live by the ocean.
When I was a child living in the valley I loved coming to Malibu. That first glimpse of blue as you come over Malibu Canyon. Oh, my. Is there anything lovelier?
And so my husband bought me a house that allowed me to see that "glimpse of blue" whenever I wanted.
My husband was a cradle Catholic and I had gone through RCIA two years prior. We wanted to raise our daughter in the faith and so we needed to find a church. Mark had gone to services at Our Lady of Malibu several times and remembered it fondly. It was close to our new home, had the exact Mass time we wanted and so we agreed to give it a whirl.
The church was small and quaint. It had a garden in full bloom and a grotto that held a statue of the Virgin Mary. The ever-smiling Father Bill greeted us at the front of the church, "Welcome. Good morning to ya.
" I shook his hand, a little surprised to be greeted by a priest (in vestments, no less!). As we entered, we were met by a motley gathering of musicians and singers. I mean this in the best possible way. You see, we are a family who loves music. The more home-spun; the more authentic, the better. By the time we had sat through an hour (which whizzed by), we were absolutely sure OLM was the winner. (Is it okay to declare a church "the winner?")
And so we became regular parishioners. My husband started to lector and I to perform the duties of a Eucharistic minister. When our daughter, Ashlyn, was old enough we enrolled her in the religious education program. But it wasn't until recently that we realized how much the people of OLM meant to us. Last October, I had a seizure. My cancer had returned and I needed surgery. The parishioners of OLM responded with such speed -- offering up prayers, food and friendship. It was amazing how people with whom we had formed strong bonds, but also people we had only known in passing came up to offer "whatever we needed." What a testament to God! The awesomeness that is a community coming together to aid a family at an emotional crossroads, a collective act so genuinely kind, that is what we love about OLM.
Sky (& Mark) Kunerth
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he warmth and caring that I sense
from my fellow parishioners is why I love to be a part of OLM.
Sundays are one of the highlights of each week that I look forward to.
I also love Fr. Bill's homilies that are like a spiritual guidepost to meditate on for the coming week. Fr. Bill once said, "God is not just here on the altar during Mass; He is also present and reflected in the faces of your fellow parishioners over coffee and donuts after Mass." OLM is a vibrant welcoming community that values my contributions and that has become my spiritual anchor.
Birute Anne Vileisis, Ph.D.
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e have been parishioners at Our Lady of Malibu for thirty-three years. When our youngest of five started school in 1984, I volunteered for the Religious Education Program. I have been with the program since then, serving as Director of Religious Education for the last twenty years.
In this position, I have been very fortunate to meet and to work with a true cross section of our church community, including four pastors, two deacons, numerous associate priests and a substantial number of community-minded, diversified, active and dedicated parents and volunteers, both young and older.
They listen and respond to each other [at OLM] and to those in need.
The volunteers who serve our various church ministries give of their time, talent, and, most importantly, their friendship in an uncompromising manner.
Our Religious Education parents are involved in their community and in their church. They cook and bake for Lenten soup suppers; assist in classrooms; provide internet services; set up, clean up and provide refreshments for various religious education gatherings; contribute canned goods to the Malibu Labor Exchange; contribute funds to the Holy Childhood Association who help the poor in foreign countries; participate in the Stations of the Cross; volunteer their talents of music and calligraphy; coordinate the Religious Education Christmas Play and caroling and they are faithful and loyal to our prayer services and to the entire program.
are grateful to have had Our Lady of Malibu, its parishioners and religious, as the focal point of our family spirituality.
Anne (& Joe) DeMieri
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