The Friday E-Pistle (Dec. 13, 2013)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointment

Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Michael J. Sis as Bishop of San Angelo, effective Jan. 27, 2014. Bishop-elect Sis has served the Diocese of Austin as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia since 2010. We congratulate him on his appointment.

Advent Penance Services

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

Special Collection: December 28-29

On the weekend of Dec. 28-29 all parishes in the Diocese of Austin are to take up a special collection for the feast of the Holy Family. The following announcement should be read before all Masses:

  • A special collection will be taken up in this Mass to support family and pro-life activities in the Diocese of Austin. These include: Annunciation Maternity Home in Georgetown, Our Lady of the Angels Maternity Shelter in Temple and the diocesan Pro-life Activities and Chaste Living Office. Please be generous in your support of this most worthy cause.
  • Una colecta especial será recogida en esta Misa para apoyar a los albergues de maternidad en la Diócesis de Austin: Annunciation Maternity Home en Georgetown y Our Lady of the Angels Maternity Shelter en Temple. Esta colecta también apoyará a la Oficina de Actividades Pro-Vida y Castidad de la Diócesis de Austin. Por favor sea generoso en su apoyo a esta valiosa causa.

Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following question for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Dec. 22):

  • Joseph’s actions are in direct response to the message of the angel. Have you neglected your Guardian Angel? Pray that your angel may assist you in all that you do.
  • Las acciones de José están en respuesta directa al mensaje del ángel ¿Ha usted ignorado a su Ángel Guardian? Ore para que su ángel lo asista en todo lo que hace.

Black Catholics

Annual Advent Revival

Holy Cross Parish in Austin will have its annual Advent Revival beginning at 6 p.m. Dec. 15. Subsequent revival sessions on Dec. 16 and 17 will begin with Mass at 6 p.m. The revivalist is Josephite Father Stanley K. Ihouma. Refreshments will be served after each session.


Catholic Services Appeal

Update on pledges

Thank you for your continued support and generosity to the CSA. To date, we have received pledges from more than 13,600 families totaling more than $3.3 million.

Follow-up letters to all non-donors were mailed in early December. Additional follow-up letters are scheduled in January 2014.

View the latest parish reports here.


Criminal Justice

Volunteers needed

The warden of the Travis County State Jail has asked the Catholic Church to provide volunteers to help staff the visitor center at the unit on Saturdays and Sundays. Responsibilities include greeting family members that have come to visit inmates. The volunteers would not enter the unit, but rather would be in the visitation facility, a building just in front of the unit. Visiting hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and volunteers can set their own hours. The jail is at 8101 FM 969 in Austin. Prospective volunteers can contact either Chaplain David Fuller at (512) 926-4482 or John Gilluly at (512) 949-2460.


Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living

Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living is sponsoring a tour of the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn. The statue will visit San José Parish in Austin on Texas Catholic Pro-Life Day on Jan. 25 for special prayer services to promote a Culture of Life within the Diocese of Austin during 2014. All other parishes are invited to schedule a time for the statue to visit their parish. Prayer service outlines are available by contacting Yvonne Saldaña in the Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living at (512) 949-2486.

Gabriel Project Angels training

Gabriel Project Angels are trained volunteers who work with someone in need of emotional and spiritual support due to a crisis pregnancy. The support of an angel can make a wonderful difference by providing a spirit of hope as the new expectant mom works through each day. Support for someone as they await the birth of their child is a ministry from the heart. There is a need for angels across the diocese. To schedule a class at your parish or for more information, call Briana Feiler at (512) 949-2488.

Sarah’s Hope

Sarah's Hope, Fertility and Recurrent Miscarriage Support is a free spiritual support program for couples struggling to conceive or with pregnancy loss. Attend a monthly women’s support group on the first Wednesday of every month (rosary 6:45 p.m., discussion 7 p.m., at the Vitae Clinic in Austin, located at 1600 W. 38th St., Suite 115. A quarterly men’s support group meets in January, April, July and October, and couples’ retreats are held twice a year (April and October). E-mail or call (512) 736-7334 for information.

Sidewalk Angel training

Sidewalk Angels are those who offer hope to women and men seeking an abortion. There are two parts to being a sidewalk angel. One is to pray and display a sign that informs those entering the abortion facility about support and care that is available to them. The second is to communicate with someone who may approach you while praying. Training on how to understand where they are, discuss their options and when to pray with someone considering abortion is available. To schedule a class at your parish or for more information, call Briana Feiler at (512) 949-2488.


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vásquez' prayer intention for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Dec. 22):

  • For all single parents, that their families will reflect the joy and love of the Holy Family …
  • Por todos los padres y madres solteros, para que sus familias reflejen el gozo y el amor de la Sagrada Familia...


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.