The Friday E-Pistle (Dec. 6, 2013)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointment

Rev. Patricio Rodriguez, ISP, as parochial vicar of Emmaus, Church of the Resurrection Parish in Lakeway, effective Dec. 1, 2013.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Since Dec. 8 is the Second Sunday of Advent, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is transferred to Monday, Dec. 9. The obligation to attend Mass, however, does not transfer. The Optional Memorial of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, Dec. 9, is omitted this year. Diocesan offices will be open on Monday, Dec. 9.

Advent Penance Services

A list of Advent Penances Services, by deanery, is available on the diocesan website.

Offices closed

All diocesan offices will be closed on Dec. 11 for a diocesan Advent Staff Day of Prayer. Offices will reopen on Dec. 12.

Report on West

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has issued its official six-month report on the Unified Catholic Response after the explosion West.

Year of Faith: Books on the Way

The Dynamic Catholic Institute will be shipping books and audio CDs of the Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly to our parishes. The books and CDs are a gift and celebrate the conclusion of the Year of Faith.  Boxes should arrive in time to hand out at Christmas Masses.

Synod of Bishops

  • Our Holy Father Pope Francis has called for an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in October of 2014. The topic of this synod is, “The pastoral challenges for the family in the context of evangelization.” In preparation for this synod, a preparatory document with several pages of questions was sent to all Bishops. While not a survey of public opinion, it is the first time that the Pope has asked Bishops to widely share such a survey with priests and parishioners in preparation for a synod. I invite you to participate in this survey, and I welcome your input. Your responses will help me to formulate my final summary. While some of the questions are meant to be answered directly by the Bishops, the majority of the answers will be more complete with input from clergy and laity. The questions touch on topics such as of the value of the family, how to minister to people in irregular marriages, and the openness of married couples to the sacramental life of the Church. If you would like to respond, please take time to read the preparatory document and then complete the survey by Dec. 9, 2013, so that the answers can be collated and utilized in my response to the Vatican by December 31, 2013. Thank you.
  • Nuestro Santo Padre el Papa Francisco ha llamado a un Sínodo Extraordinario de Obispos en Octubre del 2014. El tema de este sínodo es “Los Desafíos Pastorales sobre la Familia en el Contexto de la Evangelización.” En preparación para este sínodo, un documento preparatorio con varias preguntas ha sido enviado a todos los Obispos. Aunque no es una encuesta de la opinión pública, es la primera vez que el Santo Padre ha pedido a los Obispos que distribuyan una encuesta entre los sacerdotes y los feligreses en preparación a un sínodo. Les invito a participar en esta encuesta. Sus respuestas son bienvenidas, y me ayudarán en formar mi reporte final. Aunque algunas preguntas deben ser contestadas directamente por los Obispos, la mayoría de las respuestas serán más completas con la perspectiva de los sacerdotes y los laicos. Estas preguntas tocan temas como el valor de la familia, cómo hacer ministerio con personas en matrimonios irregulares, y la apertura de parejas casadas a la vida sacramental de la Iglesia. Si usted quiere participar, le pido que tome el tiempo para leer el documento preparatorio antes de completar la encuesta. Envíe la encuesta completa para el 9 de Diciembre del 2013 para que las respuestas puedan ser leídas y enviadas al Vaticano para el 31 de Diciembre del 2013. Gracias.


Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following question for the Third Sunday of Advent (Dec. 15):

  • In today’s Gospel, John sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he was “the one who is to come.” John knows the answer, he sends his disciples with this question so that they will recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Is there someone in your life who has yet to recognize Jesus as the Messiah? Take a few moments and pray for that person.
  • En el Evangelio de hoy, Juan envía a sus discípulos a preguntar a Jesús si Él era "quien habría de venir". Juan sabe la respuesta, pero envía a sus discípulos con esta pregunta para que ellos reconozcan a Jesús como el Mesías. ¿Hay alguien en su vida que todavía tiene que reconocer a Jesús como el Mesías? Tómese unos momentos y ore por esa persona.


Stewardship and Development

Catholic Schools Event

The Celebrating Catholic Schools Dinner and Awards Presentation will be Jan. 25. This annual event honors the “unsung” heroes from Catholic schools in the Diocese of Austin and raises much-needed funds for families who have the desire, but not the financial means, to attend Catholic school. For more information on being a sponsor, buying tickets or a table visit www.csdatx.or or contact Jean Bondy at or (512) 949-2439.


Vocation Office

Heart of Jesus Men’s discernment retreat

The Heart of Jesus: Men’s Discernment Retreat for Catholic men (18-45) with an openness to a priestly vocation and at varying stages of discernment is Dec. 14-16 at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. The weekend will include silence, prayer, meals, and the following encounters: Heart of Jesus: School of Prayer; Heart of Jesus: Revealing God’s Love and Desire; Heart of Jesus: Call to Intimate Discipleship; Heart of Jesus: Icon of Masculine Identity; Heart of Jesus: Subject of Discernment; and Heart of Jesus: Theology of Priesthood. For more information or to register, contact Father Brian McMaster at (512) 949-2430 or call Julie in the Vocation Office by Dec. 11.

Borromeo House Discernment Dinner

Catholic men (ages 18 and older) with an openness to a priestly vocation and discernment are invited to a discernment dinner at the Borromeo House in Austin. The evening includes dinner, Evening Prayer, and Father Brian McMaster will present Pro-Active Discernment, Part II: Top 5 Obstacles. For more information, contact Father McMaster, vocation director, at (512) 949-2430 or (512) 450-4073.


Weekly notes


Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for the Third Sunday of Advent (Dec. 15):

  • For those who live in patience and gratitude, that we may follow their example ...
  • Por aquellos que viven con paciencia y gratitud, para que podamos seguir su ejemplo...


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.