The Friday E-Pistle (April 11, 2014)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointment

Reverend Jonathan Raia has been appointed Vocation Director and Director of Seminarians for the Diocese of Austin effective July 1, 2014. He currently serves as the parochial vicar of St. Mary Catholic Center in College Station.  I am grateful to Rev. Brian McMaster for his five years of service as diocesan Vocation Director.  He will receive a parish assignment at a later time. 

Office closings

Diocesan offices will close at noon on Holy Thursday, April 17 and will reopen on Tuesday, April 22 at 8:30 a.m.

E-Pistle schedule

The E-Pistle will not be published on Good Friday, April 18. The next E-Pistle will be published on Friday, April 25.

Pastoral Plan Survey and New Resources on the website

The survey responses for the Pastoral Plan are coming in and the online survey 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 Continue to invite your Catholic family members and friends to complete the survey as well as Catholics who are no longer active in parish life.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 survey can easily be accessed on the main webpage of the diocesan website using any mobile device. The "pastoral plan" has numerous options for bulletin artwork and announcements for the online survey. New to the website is information about the demographic changes predicted for the future population in our diocese. This information is an important component for the development of the Pastoral Plan.

  • 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. New deadline: All paper copies of the survey must be delivered to the Pastoral Center no later than April 22.

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 Easter (April 20):

  • Peter and John run to the Lord’s tomb to verify what Mary of Magdala has told them. Are you just as excited to share the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection with others? Consider sharing some insights from what you have learned this Lent through your prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
  • Pedro y Juan corren a la tumba del Señor para verificar lo que María Magdalena les ha dicho ¿Está usted igual de emocionado de compartir la Buena Nueva de Jesús con otros? Considere compartir con otros algunas ideas sobre lo que ha aprendido esta Cuaresma a través de la oración, el ayuno y el dar limosnas.

Please consider using the following meditation for Divine Mercy Sunday (April 27):

  • Jesus gave the disciples the Holy Spirit. This is the same spirit we receive at our Baptism and Confirmation. The Holy Spirit is part of the Blessed Trinity. He is our advocate and our guide. Do you pray regularly to the Holy Spirit?
  • Jesús dió a los discípulos el Espíritu Santo. Éste es el mismo Espíritu que recibimos en nuestro Bautismo y Confirmación. El Espíritu Santo es parte de la Santísima Trinidad. Él es nuestro abogado y nuestra guía ¿Ora usted con regularidad al Espíritu Santo?

Please consider using the following meditation for the Third Sunday of Easter (May 4):

  • Jesus reveals in the breaking of the bread that it was him who was walking and teaching with his disciples. Do you realize Jesus is in the Eucharist? He is always present in the tabernacle. Don’t hesitate to visit him or spend time with him there.
  • Jesús revela al partir el pan, que era Él el que caminaba y enseñaba con sus discípulos ¿Usted encuentra a Jesús en la Eucaristía? Él está siempre presente en el tabernáculo. No dude en visitarlo o pasar tiempo con Él ahí.


Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living

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.

Good Friday Prayer Vigil

The Austin Good Friday Prayer Vigil is an outward sign of love for life. Everyone is invited to join as we pray for the unborn. The rosary will be prayed at Whole Woman’s Health on N. IH 35 throughout the day on Good Friday.


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

Upcoming retreats

  • 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.


Worship Office

Chrism Mass

This year’s Chrism Mass will be celebrated at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Austin on April 15 at 10:30 a.m. All are invited to attend.

Parishes should properly dispose of last year’s consecrated oils prior to the Chrism Mass. The oils may be removed from their particular stocks and used on the new fire of the Easter Vigil or buried. Please do not return used oil stocks to the diocesan Worship Office. Please remember that the Code of Canon Law 847 suppressed by omission the permission to add unblessed oil to that which is already blessed; therefore, you may not add oil to blessed or consecrated oil.


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for Easter (April 20):

  • That the joy of the Resurrection may fill our hearts and homes …
  • Que el gozo de la Resurrección llene nuestros corazones y hogares…

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for Divine Mercy Sunday (April 27):

  • That through the intercession and inspiration of our two new saints, St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, we will live out our call to holiness …
  • Que a través de la intercession e inspiración de nuestros dos nuevos santos, San Juan XXIII y San Juan Pablo II, vivamos nuestro llamado a la santidad…

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for Third Sunday of Easter (May 4):

  • For those preparing to receive the sacrament of Confirmation, that their hearts be open to the gift of the Holy Spirit ...
  • Por aquellos preparándose para recibir el sacramento de la Confirmación, para que sus corazones estén abiertos al don del Espíritu Santo.


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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