The Friday E-Pistle (Aug. 29, 2014)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointments

Bishop Vásquez has granted retirement status to Deacon Nelson Fahlund, effective Sept. 1, 2014.

ALS Challenge

The ice bucket challenge has become a popular way to raise funds for research for treatment and cure of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The point of the challenge is to raise awareness and research funding for the ALS Association. However, the ALS Association supports using embryonic stem cells in its research, which conflicts with Catholic teaching. Nonetheless, when accepting a challenge, a person may donate to any charity. Catholics who are asked to take part in the ice bucket challenge may do so but should be mindful to support charities that fund research for ALS that is in line with Catholic teachings, morals and ethics. For further clarification, please see the statement from the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Offices closed

All diocesan offices will be closed on Monday, Sept. 1 in observance of Labor Day. Offices will reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 8:30 a.m.

A prayer for Labor Day

God our creator, we are the work of your hands. Guide us in our work, that we may do it, not for self alone, but for the common good. Make us alert to injustice ready to stand in solidarity, that there may be dignity for all in labor and in labor’s reward. Grant this through Christ out Lord. Amen. Joseph, patron of laborers, pray for us.

From Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers Revised Edition, USCCB, 2007.

Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for the feast of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14):

  • Jesus saved us by his death on the cross. Think about the infinite love it must take to make such a sacrifice. Whom do you love enough to make a sacrifice? Whom should you love to make a sacrifice?
  • Jesús nos salvó a través de su muerte en la cruz. Piense sobre el amor infinito que debe haber conllevado un sacrificio tal ¿A quién ama usted lo suficiente para hacer un sacrificio? ¿A quién debería usted amar tanto como para sacrificarse?


Stewardship and Development Office

CSA Trainings

The Stewardship & Development Office will host “come and go” CSA training sessions for priests, parish secretaries, business administrators, CSA coordinators, and stewardship and development administrators. Participants can attend any time during the session that is most convenient. At least one person from each parish must attend a training and pick up parish CSA materials. See the list of sessions to RSVP online by Sept. 8.


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

Oct. 3-5: Together In God's Love, marriage preparation retreat

Together In God's Love, a marriage preparation retreat, will be held Oct. 3-5 from Friday at 6:30 p.m. to Sunday at noon at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. This retreat, given by the Diocese of Austin’s Office of Family Life, focuses on Catholic marriage as a visible sign of the Holy Trinity and the relationship of Christ to the Church. The weekend includes talks on faith, communication, sexuality and stewardship in the context of Catholic marriage. Couples are given the opportunity to engage in conversation, self-reflection and journaling on these topics. Mass will be celebrated on Saturday evening. The cost is $350 per couple. To register, call Sara Lockey at (512) 651-6150.


Family Life Office

Marriage preparation facilitator training

The Office of Family Life will offer facilitator training for Together In God's Love for priests, deacons and marriage preparation volunteers to use in their parish. Together in God’s Love covers all of the guidelines given by the U.S. bishops for marriage preparation and is available in English and Spanish. The workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11 and Saturday, Sept. 13. Lunch is included in the cost of the training. To register contact Sara Lockey at (512) 651-6150.


Young Adult Ministry

Theology on Tap

Bishop Joe Vásquez will present on Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (the Joy of the Gospel) at the next Theology on Tap on Sept. 3 at Casa Chapala (9041 Research Blvd Ste 100, Austin). Music begins at 6 p.m. followed by the bishop’s presentation at 7 p.m. Please note that there will be limited seating and a limited menu. For more information, contact Jennifer Kodysz at (512) 949-2467.


Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living

Living the Good News: The Joy of The Gospel conference

The Secretariat of Justice & Charity will host the Living the Good News conference on Sept. 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The conference will have sessions in Spanish and English and includes a wide range of topics including missions, Hispanic ministry, black Catholics, social justice, criminal justice and pro-life activities. The annual Pro-Life Committee Chair meeting will be held after the conference at 4 p.m. Register online.

Respect Life Sunday roses

The Office of Pro-Life Activities offers roses for purchase to all parishes interested in distributing them at Masses on Respect Life Sunday, which is Oct. 5. Order deadline is Sept. 2. The roses can be blessed during Mass prior to distribution. Roses will be available for pick-up on Oct. 3 at the Pastoral Center between noon and 5 p.m. For more information, contact Yvonne Saldaña.

2014 Statewide Criminal Justice Ministry Conference

Father David T. Link, Dean Emeritus of Notre Dame Law School and President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame Australia, will be the keynote speaker at the statewide Criminal Justice Ministry Conference Sept. 26-27 in Austin. The challenges to successful re-entry of formerly incarcerated persons into communities and the employment of these returnees will be among the major topics addressed at the conference. The conference registration fee is $75 and includes some meals. For more information, contact Yvonne Saldaña. Register online.


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for the feast of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14):

  • For an end to the death penalty...
  • Por que se acabe la pena de muerte...

Website tip

For those in need of this service, the Canonical and Tribunal Services Office offers an extensive section on annulments, including an introduction, FAQ and glossary.


Ethics and Integrity in Ministry

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 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: