The Friday E-Pistle (March 15, 2013)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

We welcome Pope Francis

Dear friends:  I want to thank all of you for joining together in prayer as we have witnessed the wonderful news that was announced in Rome.  Habemus Papam – We have a Pope!  He is Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina.  Our new Holy Father has taken the name Francis.

As the Bishop of the Diocese of Austin, I am grateful to God for giving us Pope Francis to be the Successor of St. Peter.  I ask all the faithful of the Diocese of Austin to join me in prayer with grateful thanks to God.  Let us pray for Pope Francis that he be filled with the strength of the Holy Spirit.  May he be a joyful servant of the Gospel and have the compassionate heart of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

Year of Faith: Penance

In his apostolic letter, Porta Fidei, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote, "The Year of Faith…is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world. In the mystery of his death and resurrection, God has revealed in its fullness the Love that saves and calls us to conversion of life through the forgiveness of sins (cf. Acts 5:31).” Many Catholics will heed the call to conversion to examine their lives and improve the manner in which they are living out their faith. Often, Catholics discover that this examination leads to a desire to seek forgiveness through the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance. During the season of Lent, the Sacrament of Penance is celebrated with more frequency, with parish communities offering penance services throughout the season and, in particular, these last weeks before Easter. The diocesan Year of Faith committee is offering a resource for parishes to distribute during a penance service or on any another occasion. The Sacrament of Penance cards are printed in English or Spanish and provide a simple guide for how to “go to confession.” Please make as many copies as needed for the parish.

Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following question for Palm Sunday (March 24):

  • The Passion narrative in Luke’s Gospel presents not only the story of Jesus’ passion but also the story of betrayals. The disciples argue over who is the greatest, Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss, and Peter denies that he even knows Jesus three times. How one responds to one's sins marks the call of a true disciple. The disciples and Peter respond with humility and repentence, while Judas responds with despair. In what ways does your faith help you to humbly accept your weaknesses and trust in God’s love? How have you returned to the Lord with a repentant heart and asked for forgiveness?
  • El relato de la Pasión en el Evangelio de Lucas presenta no sólo la historia de la Pasión de Jesús, sino también la historia de las traiciones. Los discípulos discuten sobre quién es el mejor. Judas traiciona a Jesús con un beso, y Pedro niega hasta tres veces que conoce a Jesús. ¿Cómo responden ellos al pecado que marca la llamada de un verdadero discípulo? Los discípulos y Pedro responden con humildad y arrepentimiento, mientras que Judas responde con desesperación. ¿De qué manera su fe le ayuda a aceptar con humildad sus debilidades y confianza en el amor de Dios? ¿Cómo ha vuelto usted al Señor con un corazón arrepentido y pedido perdón?

Social Concerns Office

2013 Pax Christi Texas State Conference

Pax Christi, the national Catholic peace and justice movement, will host its Texas State Conference on April 6 at the Dominican Center for Spirituality in Houston. Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Thomas Gumbleton, the founding Bishop of Pax Christi USA, will be the main speaker. For registration, e-mail Frank Skeith.  Pax Christi Austin meets the third Sunday of every month at St. Ignatius, Martyr Parish in Austin, at 7 p.m. For more information, e-mail Bob Rankin.

Catholic Charities of Central Texas

Donations for Easter baskets needed

Catholic Charities of Central Texas Junior Board, in partnership with the Diocese of Austin Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry, is seeking young adult volunteers to assemble and distribute Easter baskets to clients in need on March 23 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CCCTX is also collecting materials for the baskets. Items needed are: Easter egg dye, plastic eggs, Easter candy, and non-gender-specific toys (i.e., bubbles, ping pong balls, jump ropes, coloring books, etc.) Contact Sarah Rose at (512) 651-6105.

Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for Palm Sunday (March 24):

  • That mindful of Christ’s suffering and passion we all unite in a prayerful way to those around us who are suffering …
  • Conscientes del sufrimiento y la pasión de Cristo nos unimos en una forma de oración alrededor de los que están sufriendo.

Blessings and congratulations to …

The following priests on the anniversary of their ordination during the month of April:

Rev. William A. Wack CSC, April 9, 1994; Rev. Michael Couhig CSC, April 12, 1980; Rev. Thomas Niemira, April 14, 1965; Rev. James Martin CSC, April 17, 1993; Rev. Matt Iwuji J.U.D., April 21, 1974; Rev. Anthony Alphonse, April 23, 1992; Msgr. William Brooks, April 24, 1976; Rev. Kenneth Nielson, April 24, 1999; Msgr. Donald J. Sawyer  D. Min, April 27, 1974 and Rev. Ramon D. Frayna, April 29, 1986.

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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