The Friday E-Pistle (Dec. 12, 2014)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Penance services

A list of Advent Penance Services is now available on the diocesan website.

Pastoral Plan Update

The current draft of the Pastoral Plan is being edited so it can be translated into Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean. A presentation was given to the Presbyteral Council on Nov. 25 along with a timeline that outlines the work that will take place from now until July 2015. From January to May, there will be a multi-level consultation process to develop an Implementation Plan. On Feb. 28, the diocese will host a consultation for the priests, their selected parish leaders and ministry group leaders at St. John Vianney Parish in Round Rock. This will include a prayerful reflection process led by Bishop Vásquez and Dominic Perri. Parishioners will have an opportunity to participate in a similar process at regional gatherings during the months of March and April.

Special collection: Dec. 14

All parishes in the Diocese of Austin are to take up a second collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious at all Masses the weekend of Dec. 13-14. The following announcement should be read before all Masses that weekend:

  • Please give to those who have given a lifetime. Never counting the cost, some 35,000 senior sisters, brothers and religious order priests have offered their lives in service to others. Many worked for years for small stipends, leaving their religious communities without adequate savings for retirement and eldercare. Your gift to the Retirement Fund for Religious provides funding for prescription medications, nursing care and more. Please be generous.
  • Por favor den a los que han dado sus vidas enteras. Sin importar el costo, aproximadamente 35,000 hermanas, hermanos y sacerdotes de órdenes religiosas han ofrecido sus vidas en servicio a los demás. Muchos han trabajado durante años a cambio de pequeños estipendios, dejando sus comunidades religiosas sin suficientes ahorros para la jubilación y el cuidado de sus ancianos.  Una donación al Fondo de Jubilación de Religiosos proveerá fondos para medicamentos recetados, atención de enfermería, y más. Por favor, sean generosos.

World Day of Peace

The Vatican has announced the theme and title for the annual World Day of Peace message that Pope Francis will release on Jan. 1: Slaves No More, But Brothers and Sisters. This 2-page flier provided by the USCCB is suitable for parish bulletins and is now available in Spanish.


Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for Christmas (Dec. 25):

  • Today we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Reflecting on today’s Gospel, spend a few minutes imagining what it would be like to visit Jesus as the shepherds did.
  • Hoy celebramos el nacimiento de nuestro Salvador. Dedíquele unos minutos a reflexionar sobre el Evangelio de hoy, imaginándose come sería visitar a Jesús, como lo hicieron los pastores.

Please consider using the following meditation for the feast of the Holy Family (Dec. 28):

  • Mary and Joseph ensured that they followed all of the religious observances after Jesus’ birth. Have your children or younger family members followed through on receiving all of their sacraments? Try inviting them back, if they have not.
  • María y José se aseguraron de seguir todas las observancias religiosas después del nacimiento de Jesús. ¿Sus hijos y familiares jóvenes han recibido todos sus sacramentos? Invítelos a reintegrarse a la iglesia.


Catholic Services Appeal

Update on pledges

Thank you for your continued support and generosity to the Catholic Services Appeal. To date, we have received pledges from more than 6,000 families totaling nearly $2 million.

Follow-up letters to all non-donors were mailed in early December. Additional follow-up letters are scheduled in January 2015.

Return instruction for CSA Pledges

A reminder to send the first two parish batches in your Return Mailer to the processing center in Minnesota. The remaining smaller batches should be returned to the Stewardship and Development Office and we will process them. If you have questions, please contact Lisa Rosenberger at (512) 949-2450.


Black Catholics Office

MLK Mass

The annual diocesan Mass honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be held Jan. 18 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin. The main celebrant and homilist will be Bishop George V. Murry of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio. All are invited to attend.

Blood of the Martyrs Blood Drive

The Office of Black Catholics is sponsoring its 12th annual Blood of the Martyrs Blood Drive in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Austin on Jan. 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Donations can be made at a Blood and Tissue Center van on Chalmers Street between Eighth and 11th streets on the campus of Huston-Tillotson University. Donors should be 17 and have a picture ID and provide a Social Security Number. Appointments can be scheduled. For more information, contact Johnnie Dorsey at (512) 217-9616.


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vasquez' prayer intention for Christmas (Dec. 25):

  • That we live out baptismal promises every day ...
  • Que vivamos nuestras promesas bautismales todos los días ...

Please consider Bishop Vasquez' prayer intention for the feast of the Holy Family (Dec. 28):

  • That our families grow in a deeper love and peace ...
  • Que nuestras familias crezcan con paz y un amor profundo ...


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.


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