The Friday E-Pistle (March 1, 2013)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Lumen Gentium Awards 2013

The 2013 Lumen Gentium Awards will be June 25 at the Mayborn Civic Center in Temple. Nominations from pastors are due April 26. During this Year of Faith, pastors should consider nominating those in their parish who “evangelize.” Pastors should also note that after 2013, future Lumen Gentium ceremonies will only be held in odd-numbered years (ie, 2015, 2017, etc…). To submit a nominee, pastors should use the Lumen Gentium Nomination Packet.

Offices closed

All diocesan offices will be closed on Friday, March 8, for a staff day of prayer.

Year of Faith

In Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei, he eloquently reminds us that the center of our Catholic Faith is a person, the person of Jesus Christ. The Holy Father speaks about our faith as a journey that lasts a lifetime, and the need for us to rediscover this journey of faith. “We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden (cf. Mt 5:13-16). The people of today can still experience the need to go to the well, like the Samaritan woman, in order to hear Jesus, who invites us to believe in him and to draw upon the source of living water welling up within him (cf. Jn 4:14)”. As we continue to celebrate the Year of Faith, we are asked not only to improve our knowledge and understanding of the faith, but also to attend to our spiritual growth through time for prayer and reflection. The Church has always had a rich tradition of retreats — times apart from daily life that can be of great benefit to our spiritual health. In our own diocese, we are blessed to have a beautiful retreat center, Cedarbrake, located just north of Belton and nestled in a serene location among the trees and wildlife. The staff at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center is offering retreats based on the Year of Faith theme. Please consider attending a retreat which can often be a turning point on one’s spiritual relationship with Christ.

Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following question for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (March 10):

  • The story of the Prodigal Son reminds us that God is always waiting for the sinner to return. Lent is a good time to seek the mercy of God and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
  • La historia del hijo pródigo nos recuerda que Dios siempre está esperando que el pecador regrese. La Cuaresma es buen momento para buscar la misericordia de Dios y celebrar el Sacramento de la Reconciliación.

Young Adult Ministry Office

Theology on Tap

According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (, “The New Evangelization calls each of us to deepen our faith, believe in the Gospel message and go forth to proclaim the Gospel. The focus of the New Evangelization calls all Catholics to be evangelized and then go forth to evangelize.” On March 12 at Theology on Tap, diaconate candidate Rudy Villarreal will discuss the New Evangelization and the Eucharist at La Feria (2010 S. Lamar Blvd Austin TX, 78704). Music begins at 6 and the presentation will start at 7 p.m. For more information, please contact Jennifer Kodysz at (512) 949-2467.

Worship Office

Chrism Mass

• This year’s Chrism Mass will be celebrated at St. Vincent de Paul Parish on March 26 at 10:30 a.m. All parishes should properly dispose of last year’s consecrated oils prior to the Chrism Mass. The oils may be used on the new fire of the Easter Vigil or buried. Please do not return used oil stocks to the diocesan Worship Office. Please remember that the Code of Canon Law 847 suppressed by omission the permission to add unblessed oil to that which is already blessed; therefore, you may not add unblessed oil to blessed or consecrated oil.

Oils: The Office of Worship is preparing new oils to be consecrated by Bishop Vásquez at the Chrism Mass. The standard order includes 2 oz. of the Oil of the Sick; 2 oz. of the Oil of Catechumens and 2 oz. of Sacred Chrism. This year, parish orders for oils can be placed online, visit this page to place your order.  If you need other information regarding your order, please contact Kathy Thomas. The deadline for ordering oils is March 11.

Music:  All musicians are invited to participate in the Chrism Mass Choir.  Rehearsal is scheduled for March 23 at St. Vincent de Paul Parish from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Finance Office

Special collection money due

Please send funds collected for the Retired Clergy and Religious Special Collection taken up Dec. 8-9 and the Feast of the Holy Family taken up Dec. 29-30 to the diocesan Finance Office as soon as possible. Send checks to Finance Office, Diocese of Austin, 6225 Highway 290 East, Austin, TX 78723.

Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living Office

Mother’s Day Carnations

To order Mother’s Day carnations use this form. Orders are due April 15. Carnations will be available for pick up at the Pastoral Center between noon and 5 p.m. on May 10.  Carnations should be placed in water and kept in a cool location to keep them fresh for Mother’s Day. The Blessing for Mothers is available here.

Project Rachel

Project Rachel is a compassionate and confidential ministry that helps women and men suffering emotionally and spiritually from the trauma of abortion. This ministry provides opportunity for healing throughout the year through Retreats and Prayer & Study groups. Let us help you to find healing and forgiveness. To register to attend one of the confidential events listed below, please e-mail or call 1-877-WeCare2.

  • Prayer and Study Group begins March 6 and will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Austin area.
  • The next weekend retreat begins March 15.

Catechesis on Human Love Certification

In response to the new diocesan policy regarding the necessary qualifications for catechists speaking on the sensitive subject of human sexuality and chaste living, Catechesis on Human Love certification has been created. Catechesis on Human Love offers the wisdom of the Church to catechists for education in human love and sexuality, in particular incorporating Blessed John Paul II’s catechesis on human love, which helps us to understand the human person in a way so radically different from the current culture. For more information regarding qualifications, class schedules or to enroll in the certification program, contact the Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living at (512) 949-2486 or e-mail Yvonne Saldaña.

Advocacy Day – Catholic Faith in Action

Advocacy Day is an opportunity for Catholics around the state to participate in the political process by voicing the concerns of the Texas Bishops. Participants are invited to visit the State Capitol and meet with legislative staff to discuss the Bishops’ Legislative Concerns. There are many ways to participate, including visiting a legislator with a team, making a phone call, writing a letter and praying for the success of the day. On April 9, Catholics from across the state will join in a rally hosted by our Texas bishops at the State Capitol to promote our Church’s values of Life, Justice, Charity and Religious Freedom to the 83rd Texas Legislature. The Secretariat for Justice and Charity provides training and materials.  For more information and to participate in Advocacy Day 2013 contact Marie Seale at (512) 949-2487.

Weekly notes

Benedict XVI’s prayer intentions

Please consider the prayer intentions Benedict XVI offered for March before retiring from the papacy:

  • That respect for nature may grow with the awareness that all creation is God's work entrusted to human responsibility …
  • Que el respeto a la naturaleza crezca con la conciencia de que toda la creación es la labor de Dios confiada a la responsabilidad humana...
  • That bishops, priests, and deacons may be tireless messengers of the Gospel to the ends of the earth …
  • Que los obispos, sacerdotes y diáconos sean mensajeros incansables del Evangelio hasta los confines de la tierra...

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vásquez' prayer intention for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (March 10):

  • That we may all come to believe and trust in God’s infinite mercy and forgiveness …
  • Que todos podamos llegar a creer y confiar en la misericordia y el perdón infinitos de Dios...

Ethics and Integrity in Ministry (EIM)

Upcoming EIM Basic and Refresher Workshops

EIM Basic and Refresher Workshops are scheduled on a quarterly basis by the EIM Office, coordinating with the EIM site administrator at parishes, schools and other diocesan agencies. Staff of these sites wishing to host a workshop must coordinate with their EIM site administrator. The EIM site administrator should make all workshop requests on the Workshop Request Table which is sent to parishes/schools a few months prior to each new schedule block. Additional workshops will not be added to the EIM workshop calendar unless the EIM office determines a particular need. EIM site administrators may direct inquiries about EIM workshop scheduling to Emily Hurlimann or Colleen Schiller in the EIM Office at (512) 949-2400.

To determine which type of EIM workshop you need to attend, please click here. Currently scheduled 1½ hour EIM Refresher Workshops and 3-hour EIM Basic Workshops are listed here.


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