The Friday E-Pistle (Feb. 28, 2014)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Texas Catholic Bishops’ statement on same-sex marriage ruling

The Texas Catholic Conference issued this statement on Feb. 27 on the Federal District Court ruling on same-sex marriage.

Letter to Families

On Feb. 25, 2014, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, issued a Letter to Families. In the letter, Pope Francis says he wants to “come into [y]our homes to speak about an event which will take place at the Vatican this coming October,” which is the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The letter is available on the Vatican website in several languages. Our Holy Father encourages families to receive Jesus’ authentic love into our families, “In your journey as a family, you share so many beautiful moments: meals, rest, housework, leisure, prayer, trips and pilgrimages, and times of mutual support… Nevertheless, if there is no love then there is no joy, and authentic love comes to us from Jesus. He offers us his word, which illuminates our path; he gives us the Bread of life which sustains us on our journey.”

Please share the complete letter with your parishioners by posting it on your parish website, reading it before all Masses or by printing it in your bulletin by the weekend of March 8-9, the First Sunday of Lent.

Son of God movie

We received questions regarding the movie Son of God. The movie is endorsed by several members of the church hierarchy and there are a number of Catholic companion resources for the film that can be found by searching the Internet. The National Conference for Catechetical Leadership issued a statement on Feb. 24 that reminds parents the movie is rated PG-13 and contains an “intense and bloody portrayal of the Crucifixion.”

Lumen Gentium

Pastors are reminded that there will not be a Lumen Gentium awards ceremony in 2014. The next Lumen Gentium awards ceremony will be held in 2015.

Special Collection: Ash Wednesday (March 5)

All parishes in the Diocese of Austin are to take up a special collection on Ash Wednesday for world and home missions. The following announcement should be read before all Masses on Ash Wednesday:

  • Each Ash Wednesday every parish in our diocese takes up a special collection for world and home missions. The Catholic Church in the U.S. has a strong history of supporting worthy causes in our own parish communities and beyond. This combined collection will benefit areas in the church that are greatest in need, including Black and Indian Missions in the U.S. Additionally, there are many places beyond our borders where the church is poor, communities are scattered, and priests are few. This special appeal helps Catholic communities in Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe, by underwriting evangelization, religious education, education for future priests, and training for lay ministers. Thank you for your support.
  • Cada Miércoles de Ceniza todas las parroquias de nuestra diócesis toman una colecta especial para las misiones mundiales y domésticas. La Iglesia Católica en los Estados Unidos tiene una larga historia de apoyo a causas nobles en nuestras comunidades parroquiales y otros lugares. Esta colecta combinada beneficiará a zonas de la Iglesia que tienen la mayor necesidad, incluyendo la misión negra e india en los EE.UU. Además, hay muchos lugares fuera de nuestras fronteras, en donde la Iglesia es pobre, las comunidades están dispersas, y los sacerdotes son pocos. Este llamado especial ayuda a las comunidades católicas de América Latina y Europa Central y del Este, apoyando la evangelización, la educación religiosa, la educación para los futuros sacerdotes, y la formación de ministros laicos. Gracias por su apoyo.


Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for the First Sunday of Lent (March 9):

  • In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us not to test God. We test God by making demands of him, trying to force his hand into giving us something or committing the same sin over and over. Is this happening in your life? What can you do to increase your faith in God?
  • En el Evangelio de hoy, Jesús nos recuerda que no debemos poner a Dios a prueba. Lo ponemos a prueba al hacerle demandas, tratando de forzar su mano para que nos dé algo o al cometer el mismo pecado una y otra vez ¿Está pasando esto en su vida? ¿Qué puede usted hacer para incrementar su fe en Dios?


Stewardship and Development Office

Catholic Services Appeal

Thank you for your continued support and generosity to the CSA. To date, we have received pledges from more than 19,000 families totaling more than $4.7 million.

Follow-up letters to those who have not yet pledged were mailed this week.  Follow-up phone calls are scheduled to begin in March 2014.

To see the latest parish reports click here.


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

Processional cross needed

Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center is in need of a processional cross for use in their chapel. Parishes with a cross to donate should call (254) 780-2436.

March 7-9: Lenten Silent Retreat

Cedarbrake is offering a silent retreat during the Lenten Season in the hope that participants might step away from the “busyness” of life and enter into silence to prepare for the death and resurrection of Our Lord. Mass, reconciliation and spiritual direction will be available on this weekend. Cost is $165 per person. All rooms are private. To register, call (254) 780-2436.

8 de marzo: Contemplación de los 3 días de la Pasión de Cristo

Únase al Padre Guillermo Aguilar, pastor asociado en Cristo Rey y Santa Bárbara, para orar, conocer y reflexionar sobre el tema: "Contemplación de los 3 días de la pasión de Cristo". La celebración de la Misa será parte de este día. El costo es de $25, el precio incluye el material y el almuerzo. Para inscribirse por favor llame al (254) 780-2436, visite el sitio


Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living

Help Line Angels

Help Line Volunteers are needed to answer incoming calls. Calls are forwarded to Gabriel Angel volunteers in the applicable area. Free training and materials are provided. If you feel you may be called to this essential ministry or know someone who may be interested, contact Briana Feiler at (512) 949-2488.

Gabriel Project Angels training

Gabriel Project Angels volunteers work with those in need of emotional and spiritual support due to an unplanned pregnancy. There is a need for angels across the diocese. The next Gabriel Project training class will be held at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Austin on March 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit this page for more information or or contact Briana Feiler at (512) 949-2488.

Pro-Life Benefit Gala

The Pro-Life Benefit Gala will be held March 2 at the AT&T Executive Education Conference Center in Austin. This year’s keynote speaker is Msgr. Philip Reilly, Founder and Executive Director of Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, Inc. The Diocese of Austin uses the guidelines published by this organization to conduct sidewalk ministries. For more information go to

Team Anderson Mill

The St. Thomas More Respect Life Ministry will meet on the second and last Saturday of each month at 9 a.m. for adoration at St. Thomas More Parish in Austin and then proceed to pray outside the abortion facility at 9805 Anderson Mill Rd., Austin, TX 78750 from 10 to 11 a.m. All are welcome to join.

THRiVE! is back!

Generation Life will appear in the Austin, Bryan and Waco area soon. There will be Adult Seminars as well as Teen Rallies for a four-week period starting at the end of March. Scheduling across the diocese is now being planned. If your parish or school would like to bring these dynamic young people to your area, please contact Marie Cehovin. View for updates and locations, times and dates.    


Weekly notes

Pope Francis’ prayer intentions

Please consider Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for the month of March:

  • That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women…
  • Que todas las culturas respeten los derechos y la dignidad de las mujeres...
  • That many young people may accept the Lord's invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel …
  • Que mucha gente joven acepte la invitación del Señor de consagrar sus vidas a la proclamación del Evangelio...

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for the First Sunday of Lent (March 9):

  • May we persevere in our Lenten sacrifices or resolutions along with our prayers, fasting and almsgiving …
  • Que perseveremos en nuestros sacrificios o resoluciones de Cuaresma junto con nuestras oraciones, ayuno y limosna...

Website tip

Mass on the Air is a new section of that lists when Mass airs on the radio, television and internet.


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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