The Friday E-Pistle (Dec. 19, 2014)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Presbyteral Council

The Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Austin represents the priests of the diocese and assists Bishop Vásquez in the governance of the diocese to promote the pastoral good of the people of God. The following members have been elected to represent their respective deaneries on the council for three years beginning Jan. 1, 2015:

  • Bryan/College Station  – Rev. Msgr. John McCaffrey (re-elected)
  • Killeen/Temple – Rev. Chris Downey
  • Lampasas/Marble Falls – Rev. Melvin Dornak
  • San Marcos – Rev. Will Straten (re-elected)
  • Waco – Rev. John Guzaldo

Additionally, Bishop Vásquez has appointed the following priests to serve in the indicated positions on the Council, representing the priests within these categories for the same three-year period:

  • Religious Member – Very Rev. William Wack, CSC (reappointed)
  • At-Large Member – Rev. Victor Mayorga
  • At-Large Member – Rev. James Robertson

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

  • As we celebrate the birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray that the Prince of Peace may bring peace to our world that is filled with vengeance, division and suffering. May the Son of God help us to overcome these obstacles to peace and replace them with mercy, communion and healing.
  • Mientras celebramos el nacimiento de Nuestro Salvador Jesucristo, oremos por que el Príncipe de Paz traiga paz a nuestro mundo que se encuentra lleno de venganza, división y sufrimiento. Que el Hijo de Dios nos ayude a superar estos obstáculos para la paz y los reemplace con misericordia, comunión y sanación.

Offices closings

  • All diocesan offices will be closed Dec. 24-25 in observance of Christmas. Offices will reopen on Dec. 26.
  • All diocesan offices will be closed on Jan. 1 in observance of the feast of Mary, Mother of God, which is a holy day of obligation. Offices will reopen on Jan. 2

E-Pistle schedule

This is the final E-Pistle to be published in 2014. The next edition of the E-Pistle will be published on Jan. 2, 2015.

Daily readings now available in Spanish

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has made the daily readings for Mass in Spanish available online. The daily readings in Spanish are drawn from the Lectionary published in Mexico and approved for use in the U.S. by the U.S. bishops. The daily readings in Spanish can be found at by selecting: “Bible,” “Today’s Readings,” and “En Español.”

Change to Process for Obtaining Papal Blessings

The Holy See has announced that as of Jan. 1 the process for obtaining Papal Blessings will change. Outside companies will no longer be responding to requests for Papal Blessing parchments. All requests are to be made directly to the Office of Papal Charities (the Apostolic Almoner) at the Vatican. Information and forms are available from the Apostolic Almoner’s website at Individuals and parishes should order directly through the Apostolic Almoner’s office. Orders already in process through the Vicar General’s office will be fulfilled. Edith Casso is available to answer questions or assist parishes in this process at (512) 949-2403.  

A message from Pope Francis

"Babies cry, make noise, go here and there. But it annoys me when a baby cries in church and there are those who say he needs to go out. The cry of a baby is God's voice: never drive them away from the church!" Pope Francis, Gaudete Sunday at the parish of St. Joseph in Rome.

White Mass

The 14th annual White Mass will be held on Feb. 11 at St. Louis King of France Parish in Austin. The Mass, held on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, begins at 6 p.m. and is intended for all those who work in health care. The sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will also be offered. Click here to RSVP to the Mass. Click here to RSVP for the Anointing of the Sick.

Pastoral Plan Update

During the month of December the Pastoral Plan is being proofread and edited so that in January it can be translated into Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean. From January to May, there will be a multi-level consultation process to develop an Implementation Plan. This unique feature of the Pastoral Plan will provide guidance for individuals, parishes and the diocese about how to embrace the goals of the 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 from Essential Conversations. Parishioners will have an opportunity to participate in a similar process at regional gatherings during the months of March and April. The dates, times and locations will be published before Christmas. Continue to access the diocesan website for the Pastoral Plan to get up-to-date information.


Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for the Epiphany of the Lord (Jan. 4):

  • The magi brought Jesus their best gifts. How do you offer your gifts back to the Lord and the church?
  • Los magos trajeron a Jesús sus mejores regalos ¿Cómo ofrece usted sus dones de vuelta al Señor y a la Iglesia?

Please consider using the following meditation for the Baptism of the Lord (Jan. 11):

  • God the Father praises his Son at his baptism. Have you offered words of praise to your family members recently?
  • Dios Padre elogia a su hijo en su bautismo ¿Ha ofrecido usted palabras de aprecio a los miembros de su familia recientemente?


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

Jan. 17: Love Among the Ruins

Love Among the Ruins, a day of reflection, will be held Jan. 17 at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. Father Angelo Bertini will lead an in-depth look at the book of Hosea. To register, call (254) 780-2436 or e-mail

Feb. 6-8: Fireside Reflection: I Begin Now!

I Begin Now!  Three simple words to remind us to live in the present time in the “presence of God.” Life can teach us many lessons, if we take time to ponder and be aware. Brian Egan, Beverly Collin and Father Angelo Bertini will present this weekend retreat. Cost is $160 shared room, $195 private room, $85 commuter rate. To register, call (254) 780-2436 or e-mail


Young Adult Ministry

Theology on Tap

The next Theology on Tap  gathering will be Jan. 6 at Casa Chapala (9041 Research Blvd. St. 100, in Austin) where a representative from Catholic Relief Services will discuss the mission and work of CRS, as well as the call to serve those in need. Fellowship begins at 6 p.m. followed by the presentation at 7 p.m.


Catholic Schools

Celebrating Catholic Schools Event

The seventh annual Celebrating Catholic Schools Event will be Jan. 24 from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Hyatt, Town Lake in Austin. Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey of the Diocese of Corpus Christi will be the keynote speaker. The evening includes a reception, dinner, honoree recognition, keynote speaker and an after party. To buy a table, ticket or make a donation, visit or contact Jean Bondy at (512) 949-2439.


Finance Office

Special Collection money due

Please send funds collected for the Propagation of the Faith/World Mission Sunday Special Collection, taken up Oct. 18-19, to the diocesan Finance Office as soon as possible. Send checks to Finance Office, Diocese of Austin, 6225 Highway 290 East, Austin, TX 78723.


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vasquez' prayer intention for the Epiphany of the Lord (Jan. 4):

  • That we may all have a willing spirit of adoration and service …
  • Por que todos tengamos un espíritu dispuesto de adoración y de servicio...

Please consider Bishop Vasquez' prayer intention for the Baptism of the Lord (Jan. 11):

  • That all those who seek God the Father will be given his spirit of adoption …
  • Por que todos aquellos que buscan a Dios Padre reciban su espíritu de adopción...

Blessings and congratulations to …

The following priests on the anniversary of their ordination during the month of January: Rev. Dominic  Perunilam, Jan. 1, 1985; Rev. Joseph Nisari, Jan. 6, 1968; Very Rev. George Joseph, Jan. 9, 1999; Very Rev. Bud Roland, Jan. 9, 1999; Rev. Jairo Sandoval Pliego OP, Jan. 12, 2008; Very Rev. James Olnhausen, Jan. 24, 1970; and Rev. Vincent Thanh Nguyen, Jan. 25, 1997.


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: