The Friday E-Pistle (Oct. 18, 2013)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointment

Msgr. Elmer Holtman as Dean of the Lampasas/Marble Falls Deanery, effective Oct. 17, 2013.

Assistance for Cyclone Phailin

On Oct. 12 Cyclone Phailin, a Category 4 storm, hit the east coast of India. Due to diligent efforts on the part of the government, evacuations along the coast saved lives, but the people are returning to villages and homes that are destroyed. A Catholic Relief Services worker living in the area wrote, “Houses made of mud and bamboo were the worst hit and homes in the slums have completely collapsed and roofs are blown away.” It is these poorest areas that CRS assists. Anyone wishing to make a donation can visit or mail checks to Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21297-0303. Be sure to designate your gift to Cyclone Phailin.

Tickets to see the Holy Father are always free

The Prefecture of the Papal Household in Rome reports that for the canonization of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II on April 27, 2014, participation is open to all those able to find space in St. Peter's Square, Piazza Pio XII and Via della Conciliazione, without any need for tickets.

As on other occasions, the faithful are warned against ticket advertisements or requests for money by agencies or tour operators in order to obtain tickets to papal events.

Tickets to participate in audiences or celebrations presided by the Holy Father are entirely free.


Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following question for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Oct. 27):

  • Like the tax collector in today’s Gospel, Pope Francis, in a recent interview, identified himself as a sinner. Sometimes it is easy to forget that we are sinners, too, and that one day we will be judged as we have judged others. Consider making a good confession during this Year of Faith.
  • Como el recolector de impuestos del Evangelio de hoy, el Papa Francisco, en una entrevista reciente, se identificó a sí mísmo como un pecador. A veces es fácil olvidar que somos pecadores también, y que un día seremos juzgados tal como nosotros hemos juzgado a otros. Considere hacer una buena confesión durante este Año de la Fe.


Stewardship and Development Office

Catholic Services Appeal

October 19-20 is Announcement Weekend for the CSA. Parishes are encouraged to announce the appeal and tell parishioners that every Catholic family will receive a letter in the mail from Bishop Vásquez about the CSA at the end of October. Parishes are also encouraged to build awareness of the CSA by using the materials available on the diocesan website:

October 26-27 is CSA Awareness and Education Weekend. Parishes are asked to utilize bulletin announcements and inserts, pulpit announcements, campaign materials and prayers of the faithful to raise awareness about the Catholic Services Appeal. Parishes may also show the campaign video, utilize lay witness speakers or offer a pastor’s talk about the CSA. Parishioners should be reminded to review the letter received from Bishop Vásquez.


Worship Office

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of the U.S. and the Diocese of Austin, is celebrated on Dec. 8.  Since Dec. 8, 2013, is the Second Sunday of Advent, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is transferred to Monday, Dec. 9, 2013. The obligation to attend Mass, however, does not transfer. According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), no. 372, Ritual Masses are not permitted on Sundays of Advent, Lent and Easter, as well as on Solemnities, days within the Easter Octave, All Souls’ Day, Ash Wednesday, and Holy Week. Therefore, Ritual Masses, including the celebration of matrimony within Mass, are not permitted on Dec.  9, 2013, although a wedding outside of Mass is allowed, and the Rite of Marriage may be celebrated in Mass with the use of the readings and propers of the solemnity. Although the Immaculate Conception is transferred this year, the obligation to attend Mass is not; therefore, funeral Masses may be celebrated on Dec. 9, 2013.

Christmas Eve Masses

According to the Pastoral Manual, (Section M-3-II-B-1), Anticipated Masses (also referred to as Vigil Masses) may not begin any earlier than 4 p.m.


The Worship Office has prepared a resource guide for Advent. It is available by clicking here.


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

The Devil You Don’t Know!: Nov. 14

"The Devil You Don't Know!," a day of reflection, will be held Nov. 14 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. Father Angelo Bertini will lead participants in reflecting on how, whether consciously or not, we face the devil on a daily basis. The cost is $35, which includes lunch. For more information or to register, contact Cedarbrake at (254) 780-2436. 

Silent Retreat: Dec. 6-8

Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton is offering a silent retreat during Advent in hopes that you might step out of the hustle and bustle of your Christmas preparations and enter into silence to prepare for the birth of Our Lord. Mass, spiritual direction, and group centering prayer will be available on this weekend. Cost is $150 per person; all rooms are private. For more information or to register, contact Cedarbrake at (254) 780-2436. 


Canonical and Tribunal Services

Annulment Writing Workshop: Oct. 25-26

An Annulment Writing Workshop will be held Oct. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. and Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the diocesan Pastoral Center in Austin. This workshop is designed to be a spiritual and emotional healing experience for people who are seeking an annulment. Participants will learn about the annulment process and receive help in writing their personal history, which is an important and often painful part of the process. The cost is $30 per person, which includes lunch and materials. For more information, contact Pat Thompson at (512) 261-8500 or (512) 970-7063.


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Oct. 27):

  • That the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, may rest in peace …
  • Que el alma de todos los fieles difuntos, por la misericordia de Dios, descansen en paz ...

Fundraising concert

The Schoenstatt Movement of Austin and Joe's People present virtuoso pianist and composer Eric Genuis in an evening of classical music and inspiration on Oct. 25 to support the effort to build the first Schoenstatt Shrine for Mary in Austin. Tickets are $15 online.

Blessings and congratulations to …

The following priests on the anniversary of their ordination during the month of November: Rev. Charles Van Winkle, CSC, Nov. 23, 1978; Rev. Carlo Benjamin Magnaye, MF, Nov. 23, 1996; Rev. Pedro Castillo, Nov. 24, 1985; Rev. Victor Mayorga, Nov. 26, 1995 and Rev. Louis T. Brusatti, Nov. 28, 1975.


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 any site 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. 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.

For general information about EIM Basic or Refresher workshops, please click here.

Anyone needing an EIM workshop will sign up online through their EIM account. The sign-up process is explained once you access your EIM account; please contact your parish or Catholic school EIM site administrator if you need assistance or if you do not have Internet access.

Click here to login to your EIM account in order to find the schedule of EIM workshops and to sign up. Instructions are provided in case you do not recall how to login to your EIM account.

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