The Friday E-Pistle (Dec. 20, 2013)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Masses of Thanksgiving

All are invited to two Masses of Thanksgiving for Bishop-elect Michael Sis who will be ordained and installed as the Bishop of San Angelo on Jan. 27:

  • Jan. 2: St. Thomas More Parish in Austin at 7:30 p.m. with reception following the Mass
  • Jan. 10: St. Mary Catholic Center in College Station at 5:30 p.m. with reception following the Mass

Thanks for synod survey participation

  • Bishop Vásquez would like to express his gratitude to all those who participated in the survey for the Synod of the Family. Bishop Vásquez’ official response to the survey will be sent to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for their inclusion in the report to the Vatican.
  • El Obispo Vásquez desea expresar su gratitud a todos aquellos que participaron en la encuesta para el Sínodo sobre la Familia. La respuesta oficial del Obispo Vásquez a dicho estudio será enviada a la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos para su inclusión en el reporte para el Vaticano.

Offices closed

  • Diocesan offices will be closed Dec. 24-25 in observance of Christmas. Diocesan offices will reopen on Dec. 26.
  • Diocesan offices will be closed Jan. 1 in observance of the feast of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. Offices will reopen on Jan. 2.

Holy day of Obligation: Jan. 1

January 1, the feast of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, is a holy day of Obligation.

Prayers requested

Please pray for Deacon Larry Terrell who died Wednesday morning. He was assigned for many years at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Austin. Services are as follows: Visitation today at 6 p.m. at Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Funeral Home and Memorial Park at 6300 William Cannon Drive in Austin. Vigil today at 7 p.m. at Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Funeral Home and Memorial Park. Funeral, Dec. 21 at 10 a.m. at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Austin with Bishop Vásquez presiding. Burial will follow at Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks.


Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following question for Christmas (Dec. 25):

  • Jesus is born today. He comes to us as a baby and later teaches us that he is our brother and that we are to call His Father, Our Father or Abba, which is an Aramaic word that means “daddy” or “papa.” On this special day let us give thanks to God, Our Father, for sending His Son to save us.
  • Jesús nace hoy. Él viene a nosotros como un bebé y más tarde nos enseña que es nuestro hermano y que debemos llamar a Su Padre, Nuestro Padre o Abba, que en Arameo significa "papi" o "papá". En este día especial, demos gracias a Dios, Nuestro Padre, por enviar a su Hijo a salvarnos.

Please consider using the following question for the feast of the Holy Family (Dec. 29):

  • Immediately after Jesus’ birth the Holy Family is called to make a sacrifice and flee to Egypt. Are you thankful for the sacrifices your family has made for you? Do you joyfully make sacrifices for your family?
  • Inmediatamente después del nacimiento de Jesús, la Sagrada Familia es llamada a hacer un sacrificio y huye a Egipto ¿Está usted agradecido por los sacrificios que su familia ha hecho por usted? ¿Usted se sacrifica por su familia alegremente?

Please consider using the following question for the feast of Mary, the Holy Mother of God (Jan. 1):

  • The Gospel tells us that Mary kept the wonderful moments around the time of Jesus’ birth in her heart and reflected on them. The rosary is a wonderful prayer to reflect with Mary. Try to pray the rosary once this week.
  • El Evangelio nos dice que María guardó en su corazón todos los maravillosos momentos alrededor del nacimiento de Jesús y que reflexionaba sobre ellos. El rosario es una oración maravillosa para reflexionar con María. Trate de rezar el rosario una vez por semana.

Please consider using the following question for the Epiphany of the Lord (Jan. 5):

  • The wise men brought the Baby Jesus their finest gifts. Assess the gifts you are sharing with the Church. How can you increase your time, talent and treasure to God and his Church?
  • Los hombres sabios trajeron al bebé Jesús sus regalos más finos. Evalúe los regalos que usted comparte con la Iglesia ¿Cómo puede usted dar más de su tiempo, talento y valores a Dios y su Iglesia?


Stewardship Office

Special Collection: Dec. 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 las actividades pro-vida y pro-familia en la Diócesis de Austin. Estas incluyen: Annunciation Maternity Home en Georgetown, Our Lady of the Angels Maternity Shelter en Temple, y la Oficina de Actividades Pro-Vida y Castidad de la Diócesis de Austin. Por favor sea generoso en su apoyo a esta valiosa causa.


Catholic Services Appeal

Update on pledges & Congratulations!

Congratulations to the following parishes that have met or exceeded their 2014 goal for dollars pledged in support of the CSA (as of Dec. 12) !

  • Ascension, Bastrop
  • Cristo Rey, Austin
  • Good Shepherd, Johnson City
  • Holy Rosary, Frenstat
  • Holy Trinity, Llano
  • Holy Vietnamese Martyrs, Austin
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe, Austin
  • Our Lady of Lourdes, Gatesville
  • Our Lady of the Lake, Sunrise Beach
  • Sacred Heart, Lott
  • Santa Barbara, Austin
  • Santa Rosa, Florence
  • St. Andrew Kim, Austin
  • St. Ferdinand, Blanco
  • St. John Neumann, Austin
  • St. John Vianney, Austin
  • St. Joseph, Cyclone
  • St. Joseph, Dime Box
  • St. Joseph, Manor
  • St. Joseph, Mason
  • St. Mary, Ellinger/Hostyn Hill
  • St. Mary, San Saba
  • St. Mary of the Assumption, String Prairie
  • St. Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, Caldwell
  • St. Monica, Cameron
  • St. Paul Chong Hasang, Harker Heights
  • St. Peter, Goldthwaite
  • St. Stephen, Salado
  • St. Vincent de Paul, Austin

Thank you for your continued support and generosity to the CSA. To date, we have received pledges from more than 14,800 families totaling more than $3.5 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.

International Catholic Stewardship Conference

The annual International Catholic Stewardship Council Conference will be Oct. 5-8 in Orlando. Registration is discounted by 33 percent if completed by Dec. 31.

Books on the way

The Dynamic Catholic Institute has shipped 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 to celebrate the conclusion of the Year of Faith. Boxes should have arrived this week.


Social Concerns

St. Vincent de Paul ‘Find Help!’

The Austin Society of St. Vincent de Paul now has a "Find Help!" mapping tool online. The tool will help clients find the help that they need and it will help parishes and Vincentian volunteers direct clients to appropriate help. Just enter an address in the search it will show which St. Vincent de Paul chapter is closest.


Young Adult Ministry

Theology on Tap

Father Barry Cuba, associate pastor at St. Mary Catholic Center in College Station, will discuss the witness of hope in the lives of the saints at Theology on Tap on Jan. 7 at Casa Chapala, 3010 West Anderson Ln. in Austin. Music and fellowship begin at 6 p.m. and the presentation begins at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Jennifer Kodysz at (512) 949-2467.


Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living

Texas Catholic Pro-Life Day

On Jan. 25, Catholics from around the state join together to stand in solidarity to promote life at Texas Catholic Pro-Life Day. The day will begin with a prayer vigil to end abortion after which everyone will proceed to San José Parish in Austin to pray the rosary coordinated by the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. The Living Rosary will be followed by Mass celebrated by Bishop Joe Vásquez and Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey of Corpus Christi. After lunch at the PAC, everyone will proceed to join in at the March for Life, which ends at the Capitol and joins the Rally for Life. The day will conclude with a Party for Life at the University Catholic Center. Everyone is invited to participate.

Pro-Life Mass in College Station

All are invited to attend the diocesan Pro-Life Mass on Jan. 22 at 5:30 p.m. at St. Mary Catholic Center in College Station. A collection will be taken to benefit the Good Samaritan Gabriel Project Life Center in Bryan. There will be a reception in the Student Lounge after Mass.

Our Lady of the Angels Maternity Shelter

The 11th annual Benefit Banquet supporting Our Lady of the Angels Maternity Shelter will be held Jan. 24, from 6-9 p.m. at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton. For more information, contact St. Luke Parish in Temple at (254) 773-1561.


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intentions

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for Christmas (Dec. 25):

  • That the joy of Christmas be in our hearts throughout the year for all to see …
  • Que el gozo de la Navidad permanezca en nuestros corazones durante todo el año para que todos lo vean...

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for the Holy Family (Dec. 29):

  • For families, that they may take comfort in the example of the Holy Family and for the healing of any divisions …
  • Por las familias, para que puedan consolarse con el ejemplo de la Sagrada Familia y por la sanación de cualquier división...

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for the feast of Mary, the Holy Mother of God (Jan. 1):

  • We ask for Mary's intercession for all mothers in need…
  • Pedimos la intercesión de María por todas las madres necesitadas...

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for the feast the Epiphany (Jan. 5):

  • That we use the gifts God has given us to build up his kingdom here on earth …
  • Que usemos los dones que Dios nos ha dado para construir su reino aquí en la tierra...

Pope Francis documentary

The Knights of Columbus recently produced a documentary on Pope Francis called Francis: The Pope From the New World. The DVD, $14.96, plus shipping and handling, is available from All proceeds will be given to Pope Francis.

Blessings and congratulations to …

The following priests on the anniversary of their ordination during the month of January: Rev. Dominic Perunilam, Jan. 1, 1985; Rev. Joseph Nisari, Jan. 6, 1968; Very Rev. George Joseph, Jan. 9, 1999; Very Rev. Bud Roland, Jan. 9, 1999; Rev. Jairo Sandoval Pliego OP, Jan. 12, 2008; Very Rev. James Olnhausen, Jan. 24, 1970; and Rev. Vincent Thanh Nguyen, Jan. 25, 1997.

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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