The Friday E-Pistle (March 21, 2014)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointment

Deacon Jack Murphy has been appointed as Program Coordinator in the diocesan Office of Diaconal Formation, effective immediately. This is in addition to Deacon Murphy’s current assignment at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Cedar Park.

Presbyteral Council

On March 18, the following priests were elected as the officers of the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Austin for a one-year term:

  • Chairman: Rev. Timothy Vaverek
  • Vice-Chairman: Rev. William Wack, CSC (re-elected)
  • Secretary: Rev. Daniel Liu

The following priests were elected on March 18 as Committee Members of the Diocese of Austin Pension Plan and Trust:

  • Rev. Timothy Vaverek (1-year term)
  • Very Rev. James Olnhausen (1-year term)
  • Rev. Daniel Liu (1-year term)
  • Rev. Msgr. John McCaffrey (re-elected for 3-year term)

The following priest was re-elected on March 18 as a Trustee of the Diocese of Austin Pension Plan and Trust:

  • Rev. Msgr. John McCaffrey (re-elected for 3-year term)

The following priests were appointed by Bishop Vásquez on Dec. 13, 2013, to the Election Committee of the Presbyteral Council for 2014:

  • Rev. James Misko, Chairman
  • Very Rev. George Joseph
  • Rev. Uche Obikwelu

Complete the Online Pastoral Plan Survey

For our Pastoral Plan to be successful, we need input from you, the faithful in our diocese. Please take a few minutes to complete an electronic survey about your view of the future of our diocese in the next three to five years. The survey will remain available through April 27. Please invite your Catholic family members and friends to complete the survey. Also invite Catholics who are no longer active in parish life.

  • If you have a Facebook or Twitter account get as many people as you can to share and re-tweet the invitation to fill out the survey.
  • For parishes, please post the links to the survey tool on your web pages and, if available, on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • If you do not have access to the Internet, parishes may download English or Spanish copies of the survey and make them available in the bulletin, in the narthex or distribute them after Mass.

Note: All survey responses will be entered electronically into the “survey monkey” tool. Parishes are encouraged to help input the data from paper surveys into the electronic tool or send the surveys to the diocese. You may contact the Pastoral Plan Core Team at or at the Pastoral Center mailing address.

Pastoral Plan: Spanish Listening Session

  • Over the last two months we have held many listening sessions and focus groups to hear from our parishioners. Because of the great demand for another listening session in Spanish, we invite you to a Spanish listening session on March 31 at 7 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Parish in Pflugerville.
  • A través de los últimos dos meses hemos llevado a cabo muchas sesiones para escuchar y grupos de enfoque para escuchar a nuestros parroquianos. Debido a la gran demanda de otra sesión para escuchar en español, le invitamos a una sesión para escuchar en español el día 31 de marzo a las 7 p.m. en la Parroquia de St. Elizabeth en Pflugerville.


Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (March 30):

  • In today’s Gospel the Pharisees hear three testimonies about the man born blind and despite the repetition still refused to believe that Jesus performed the miracle by the power of God. Are there any spiritual “repeat messages” that you have been ignoring? Spend some time in prayer seeking the answer.
  • En el Evangelio de hoy los Fariseos escuchan tres testimonios sobre el hombre que nació ciego y a pesar de la repetición se rehúsan a creer que Jesús realizó el milagro por el poder de Dios ¿Hay algunos “mensajes repetidos” que usted ha estado ignorando? Pase algo de tiempo en oración buscando la respuesta.


Stewardship and Development Office

Catholic Services Appeal

Follow-up phone calls for the Catholic Services Appeal began the week of March 3.  These calls are targeted to those who have made a gift to the CSA in the past, but have not yet renewed their commitment this year. If you receive any questions about the calling program, please direct those questions to Danielle Madrid in the Stewardship & Development Office at (512) 949-2440. 

To see the latest parish reports click here.


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

April 11-13: Healing Our Image of God

Father Matt Linn will present the Healing Our Image of God retreat, April 11-13. This is an opportunity to be healed of the distorted images we have of God and embrace the unconditional love and mercy that await each of us. Only shared rooms are available for this retreat; the cost is $160. If you desire a private room, call (254) 780-2436 to be put on a waiting list. Commuters pay $85. Click here to register.

May 8: A Day with Saints John XXIII and John Paul II

This year Pope Francis will canonize Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. Both popes have had a major effect on the church. Spend some time learning more about these holy men and the contribution each made to the faith. This May 8 retreat, led by Cedarbrake Assistant Director Beverly Collin, will include Mass, quiet time and sharing. Cost is $35. Call (254) 780-2436 to register.

June 6-11: Desert Solitude

The Desert Solitude Retreat begins on June 6 and concludes June 11. This is a 5-night, 6-day silent retreat with Centering Prayer as the focus. This is a wonderful time to come to Cedarbrake and enjoy the quiet. We will have Mass each day and spiritual direction will be available to those interested. The retreat can be shortened to three or four nights. Cost varies by the length of retreat. Call (254) 780-2436 for more information.


Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living

Thrive: Upcoming dates

Thrive Teen Rallies will take place on April 3 in College Station, April 4 in Austin and April 5 in Waco. These free rallies for grades 7-12 will feature Generation Life missionaries who are part of a movement of young people committed to building a Culture of Life by educating their peers on the pro-life and chastity messages. Parents are welcome. Each of the rallies will take place from 6:30-9 p.m. Find details and RSVP for the event at or call (512) 949-2486.

Download the Thrive flier

Project Rachel retreat

Project Rachel is a compassionate and confidential ministry that helps women and men suffering emotionally and spiritually from the trauma of abortion. Project Rachel retreats are offered throughout the year at private locations. The next retreat is scheduled for March 28-30. Confidential registration is available by contacting (877) 932-2732 or

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 from 10-11 a.m. to pray outside the abortion facility at 9805 Anderson Mill Road, Austin, TX 78750. All are welcome to join.

Gabriel Project Angels needed

Gabriel Project Angels are trained volunteers who work with someone in need of emotional and spiritual support due to a crisis pregnancy. There is a need for angels across the diocese. The next scheduled training will be April 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. John Parish in San Marcos. Please call (512) 949-2488 or e-mail Briana Feiler to register or for more information.


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (March 30):

  • For all those preparing to enter the Church this Easter …
  • Por todos aquellos preparándose para integrarse a la Iglesia esta Pascua...

Blessings and congratulations to …

The following priests on the anniversary of their ordination during the month of April: Very Rev. William A. Wack, CSC, April 9, 1994; Rev. Michael Couhig, CSC, April 12, 1980; Rev. Thomas Niemira, April 14, 1965; Rev. James Martin, CSC, April 17, 1993; Very Rev. Matt Iwuji, JUD, April 21, 1974; Rev. Richard  Dee Du, MF, April 22, 1999; Rev. Anthony Alphonse, April 23, 1992; Msgr. William Brooks, April 24, 1976; Rev. Kenneth Nielson, April 24, 1999; Msgr. Donald J. Sawyer, D. Min, April 27, 1974; and Rev. Ramon D. Frayna, April 29, 1986.


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.


Department Categorization: