The Friday E-Pistle (April 4, 2014)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Prayers for Fort Hood

We are all shocked by the senseless act of violence committed this Wednesday at Fort Hood in Killeen. This military post lies in the geographic boundary of the Diocese of Austin; however, it is under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. We share in the pain and loss suffered by all those affected by this tragedy and remember them in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. I ask that you include the following intercessory prayer at all Masses this weekend:

  • For all those affected by the Fort Hood tragedy: may the Holy Spirit bring them healing, peace and comfort during their time of grief. We pray to the Lord ...
  • Por todos aquellos afectados por la tragedia de Fort Hood: que el Espíritu Santo les conceda sanación, paz y consuelo durante su tiempo de duelo. Roguemos al Señor ...

Save the date: Summer Gathering of Priests

This year’s Summer Gathering of Priests is June 2-4. More information will be mailed to priests.

Lenten Penance Services

A listing of Lenten Penance Services is posted on the diocesan website.

Pastoral Plan Survey and Website

  • The online survey is still available and will remain available through April 27. Continue to invite your Catholic family members and friends to complete the survey as well as Catholics who are no longer active in parish life. The diocesan website has numerous options for bulletin artwork and announcements for the online survey. New to the website is a link for anyone to sign up to receive regular email updates about the Pastoral Plan. In addition, the survey can easily be accessed on the main webpage using any mobile device.
  • If you have a Facebook or Twitter account invite people to share and re-tweet the invitation to fill out the survey.
  • For parishes, make certain links to the survey tool are 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 and 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.

Special Collection: Good Friday: April 18

All parishes in the Diocese of Austin are to take up a special collection for the Holy Land on Good Friday, April 18. The following announcements should be read before services or before the collection is taken up on Good Friday.

  • In today’s service we will take up the annual collection to support Christians in the Holy Land. Our contributions will assist the Franciscan friars and others in housing and feeding the poor, providing religious formation and education, maintaining shrines and parishes, and conducting pastoral ministry there. As a pontifical collection requested by the Holy Father, the annual Good Friday Collection offers a direct link for all of us to help maintain a Christian presence in the Holy Land.
  • En el servicio de hoy vamos a tomar la colecta anual para apoyar a los cristianos en la Tierra Santa. Nuestra contribución ayudará a los frailes franciscanos y otras personas en la vivienda y la alimentación de los pobres, proporcionando formación religiosa y la educación, el mantenimiento de los santuarios y parroquias, y llevar a cabo el ministerio pastoral allí. Como una colección pontificia solicitada por el Santo Padre, la colecta anual del Viernes Santo ofrece un enlace directo para todos nosotros, para ayudar a mantener la presencia cristiana en la Tierra Santa.

Special Collection: April 26-27

All parishes in the Diocese of Austin are to take up a special collection the weekend of April 26-27 for Seminarians and Priest Education and Formation. The following announcement should be read before all Masses that weekend:

  • To minister to a rapidly growing population, the Diocese of Austin must ensure it has an ample number of priests to celebrate the sacraments, preach God’s word and guide us on our journey with Christ. To ensure our priests are well-prepared, a man in formation will pursue a quality education in philosophy, theology and pastoral care. Seminarian education and formation in the Diocese of Austin can take up to nine years. Financial impediments should never prevent men from responding to God’s call to the priesthood. Most financial support for priests and seminarians is made available from the Catholic Services Appeal and a Seminarian Endowment in the Catholic Foundation, but the needs are far greater than our annual appeal can support. This special collection provides additional support for this very important effort. Please be generous in your support of this most worthy cause.
  • Para atender a una población en rápido crecimiento, la Diócesis de Austin debe asegurarse de que cuenta con un amplio número de sacerdotes para celebrar los sacramentos, predicar la palabra de Dios y nos guíe en nuestro camino con Cristo. Para asegurar que nuestros sacerdotes están bien preparados, un hombre en la formación llevará a cabo una educación de calidad en la filosofía, la teología y la pastoral. La educación y la formación de seminaristas en la Diócesis de Austin puede tardar hasta nueve años. Impedimentos financieros no debe impedir que los hombres responden al llamado de Dios al sacerdocio. La mayoría de la ayuda financiera para los sacerdotes y seminaristas, con cargo a la Apelación de Servicios católica y una dotación seminarista en la Fundación Católica, pero las necesidades son mucho mayores que nuestro llamamiento anual puede soportar. Esta colección especial proporciona apoyo adicional a este esfuerzo muy importante. Por favor, sean generosos en su apoyo a esta causa más digna.


Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for Palm Sunday (April 13):

  • We are given palms to help us visualize Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem in the Gospel reading that opens today’s Mass. After Mass, and throughout this Holy Week, the palm should remind us to be prepared for Jesus’ next triumphant return. Is your heart ready?
  • Se nos dan palmas para ayudarnos a visualizar la entrada triunfal de Jesús en Jerusalén de la lectura del Evangelio que abre la Misa de hoy. Después de Misa y a través de toda esta Semana Santa, las palmas deben recordarnos que debemos alistarnos para el próximo regreso triunfal de Jesús ¿Está listo su corazón?


Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living

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 Rd., 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.

Annunciation Maternity Home Banquet

The annual Annunciation Maternity Home Banquet is May 8 at St. Helen Parish in Georgetown. Registration and silent auction begin at 6 p.m. Live auction, dinner and program begin at 7 p.m. Sponsorships include tables seating eight, and are available at the following levels: Faith ($300), Hope ($500), Love ($1,000). Individual tickets are $40 and couples are $75. Auction items are needed. Online registration and more information can be found at or by calling (512) 864-7755.


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

Upcoming retreats

  • Healing our Image of God, a weekend retreat, will be held April 11-13 at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. Father Matt Linn will lead participants in healing their distorted images of God and embracing the unconditional love and mercy that are offered to us. The cost is $195 for private rooms, $160 for shared rooms, or $85 for commuters. For more information or to register, contact Cedarbrake at (254) 780-2436.
  • A Day with Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, a day of reflection, will be held May 8 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. Beverly Collin will lead participants in learning more about these newly canonized saints and their contributions to the faith. The day will include Mass, quiet time and sharing. The cost is $35 per person. For more information or to register, contact Cedarbrake at (254) 780-2436.
  • Desert Solitude, a silent retreat with Centering Prayer as the focus, will be held June 6-11 at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. Daily Mass and spiritual direction will be available. Cost varies as to how long each participant stays. For more information or to register, contact Cedarbrake at (254) 780-2436.

Catholic Charities of Central Texas

8th annual Creating Hope Benefit

Join Bishop Vásquez and Catholic Charities of Central Texas for the 8th annual Creating Hope Benefit on April 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Austin. The evening includes a VIP reception, dinner and keynote address from Jeannette Walls, best-selling author of The Glass Castle. Sponsorships are available by contacting Christina Vehar at (512) 651-6103.


Weekly notes

Pope Francis’ prayer intentions

Please consider Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for the month April:

  • That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources …
  • Que el gobierno procure la protección de la creación y la justa distribución de los recursos naturales...
  • That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness …
  • Que el Señor Resucitado llene de esperanza los corazones de aquellos que están siendo probados a través del dolor y la enfermedad.

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for Palm Sunday (April 13):

  • For all of those whose lives were affected by the explosion in West one year ago and for all those who died …
  • Por todos aquellos cuyas vidas se vieron afectadas por la explosión de West de hace un año y por todos aquellos que murieron...


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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