The Friday E-Pistle (March 6, 2015)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Garcia

I would like to express my gratitude for the prayers, hard work and support which made the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Daniel Garcia a truly prayerful and joyful event. As the Diocese of Austin continues to experience rapid growth, God has blessed us through this extraordinary gift of an auxiliary bishop. I especially acknowledge and thank our priests for their presence and fraternal support. In a special way, I thank the priests who had special roles in the liturgy that required an extra commitment of their time, particularly those who served as Masters of Ceremony. And, I am grateful for the deacons, their wives, men and women religious, and seminarians who attended the ordination. 

To the Ordination Committee, Office of Worship, choir and musicians, diocesan staff, volunteers and generous sponsors, I express my heartfelt gratitude. Thanks to your tireless efforts and dedication of time, talent and treasure, the Episcopal Ordination of the first Auxiliary Bishop of Austin was solemn and uplifting.  

Finally, I express my thanks to Rev. Dean Wilhelm, Rev. Uche Andeh, the fine parish staff and community of St. William Parish for hosting us on this special occasion. They were most gracious in collaborating with us and extending their hospitality.

Participate in the 2015 Synod on the Family Survey

At the conclusion of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, celebrated in 2014 to treat the topic, The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization, Pope Francis decided to make public the Relatio Synodi, the document which concluded the synod’s work. At the same time, the Holy Father indicated that this document would be the Lineamenta for the XIV Ordinary General Assembly to take place Oct. 4-25 to treat the topic, The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World. The Lineamenta has a series of questions aimed at knowing how the document is received and to generate an in-depth examination of the work initiated during the Extraordinary Assembly. In the spirit of dialogue, Pope Francis wishes to receive further feedback from Catholics on the outcome of the Extraordinary Synod to help the Church prepare for the Ordinary Synod on the Family that is scheduled for Oct. 4-25, 2015. The Catholic Diocese of Austin would appreciate some of your time to fill in this survey so that we can help shape the response that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will send to Rome in April 2015. Feel free to answer all or only some of the questions that most interest you. Due to the time needed by the Holy See to assemble this material, your responses to this survey must be received no later than March 13, 2015.

Special collection: March 14-15

On the weekend of March 14-15, all parishes in the Diocese of Austin are to take up a special collection for Catholic Relief Services. The following announcement should be read before all Masses that weekend:

  • This weekend we will take up the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) collection, which helps children, women and families around the world. The six worldwide organizations supported by the collection provide immediate humanitarian aid, pastoral support and disaster relief to our suffering brothers and sisters around the globe. This collection offers an opportunity for each of us to help Jesus in disguise. Please give generously to the Catholic Relief Services collection.
  • Este fin de semana se tomará la Colecta para los Servicios de Asistencia Católicos, que ayudan a niños, mujeres y familias en todo el mundo. Las seis organizaciones mundiales que reciben financiamiento de la Colecta proporcionan ayuda humanitaria inmediata, apoyo pastoral y auxilio en casos de desastre a nuestros hermanos y hermanas que sufren alrededor del mundo.  Esta colecta nos ofrece la oportunidad a cada uno de nosotros de ayudar a Jesús con otro rostro. Por favor, contribuyan generosamente a la Colecta para los Servicios de Asistencia Católica.

Chrism Mass

The Mass of Chrism will take place on March 31 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Austin. To order oils for your parish, please order online by March 18 at www.austindiocese.org/chrism2015.

Lumen Gentium

The 2015 Lumen Gentium ceremony will be June 16 at the Mayborn Center in Temple. An e-mail was re-sent yesterday to pastors explaining this year’s nomination process. Nominations are due March 20. For questions, contact Christian R. González at (512) 949-2456.

Pastoral Plan Update

The Episcopal Ordination of the Most Rev. Danny Garcia as our Auxiliary Bishop underscores the significance of the tremendous growth occurring in our diocese. The development and implementation of our new Pastoral Plan also comes at a time when the diocese is experiencing demographic shifts. Bishop Vásquez  encourages all to attend one of the parish gatherings to offer your ideas about how we could implement the Plan in the most effective and fruitful manner. All sessions will be offered in English and Spanish and held from 7 to 9 p.m. as follows:

  • Monday, March 23: St. Joseph Parish in Bryan
  • Thursday, March 26: Pastoral Center in Austin
  • Monday, April 13: St. John the Evangelist Parish in Marble Falls
  • Thursday, April 16: St. John the Evangelist Parish in San Marcos
  • Thursday, April 23: St. Louis Catholic School in Waco

To have enough materials and refreshments, please register, if you plan to attend. Registration may be done individually or as a group.

 

A message from Bishop Garcia

I am very grateful and humbled by the many signs of support which so many people offered me, prior, during and after my episcopal ordination. To the many people who worked behind the scenes, as well as to those directly involved in every aspect of the celebration -- Thank you! 

I am especially grateful to Bishop Vásquez, my brother priests, deacons, seminarians, religious and diocesan staff for their presence and encouragement. I look forward to the work that I will now share in as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Austin. Please continue to pray for me as I accept these new responsibilities. 

 

Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for the Fifth Sunday of Lent (March 22):

  • Jesus mentions “good fruit” coming from the seed that dies and grows. What good fruit do you produce? How can you increase your “harvest?"
  • Jesús menciona el "fruto bueno" que viene de la semilla que muere y crece ¿Qué fruto bueno produce usted? ¿Puede usted incrementar su "cosecha"?

 

Social concerns

Join our bishops on March 24

On March 24 the bishops of Texas and thousands of advocates will be at the Capitol for the Catholic Faith in Action Advocacy Day. Everyone in the diocese can participate by praying for this event and by calling their state representatives and senator in support of the bishops’ agenda. Those who want can come to the rally at the Capitol scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on March 24. All participants are encouraged to wear royal blue. Detailed information, including a call in-script is available at austindiocese.org/advocacyday.

 

Stewardship and Development

Catholic Services Appeal

Thank you for your continued support and generosity to the CSA. To date, we have received pledges from more than 17,000 families totaling more than $4.7 million. Follow-up letters to those who have not yet pledged were mailed last week. Follow-up phone calls are scheduled to begin on March 9. To see the latest parish reports click here.

PDS update

Parish conversions will be ongoing through August 2015. We have converted 44 parishes to date. All parishes will be contacted by a diocesan database team member prior to their conversion date with information to prepare for the conversion. The parish will have two weeks to review their data after their conversion. Please see the website at http://www.austindiocese.org/pds for the schedule as well as training sessions. The upcoming conversions this week are Our Lady of the Lake in Sunrise Beach, St. Ann in Somerville and St. Michael in Uhland.

 

Vocation Office

Heart of Mary discernment retreat

All women, ages 18-45, are invited to encounter the beauty of a vocation and the possibility of this call in their own lives, April 24-26, at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. The retreat will be led by the Consecrated Sisters of the Apostles of the Interior Life (AVI). There will be talks and time for prayer as well as “one-on-one” conversations with the sisters while experiencing community life with other young women discerning the will of God. For more information, contact the Vocation Office at (512) 949-2430. Cost is $35. Register online by April 20 at http://www.austinvocations.com/.

 

Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living

THRiVE!: Adult Seminar and Teen Rallies Upcoming dates

The Culture Project is traveling all over Texas to speak with middle and high school students, young adults and parents on both human dignity and sexual integrity. Parishes and schools can request they come to give a presentation before they depart on March 28 or come out and see them at the following locations:

 

Catholic Charities of Central Texas

DACA assistance

Catholic Charities of Central Texas is now accepting appointments for help with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for the week of March 17-20. All candidates must contact Catholic Charities at (512) 651-6125 before March 17 to receive important information regarding the costs and eligibility. Visit www.ccctx.org/DACA for more information.

 

Weekly notes

Pope Francis’ prayer intentions

Please consider Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for the month of March:

  • That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person …
  • Para que quienes se dedican a la investigación científica se pongan al servicio del bien integral de la persona humana. 
  • That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always …
  • Para que en todo el mundo sea reconocida adecuadamente la contribución de la mujer al desarrollo de la sociedad...

Bishop Vasquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for the Fifth Sunday of Lent (March 22):

  • As we near the end of the Lenten season and prepare for Holy Week, let us enter these solemn celebrations with prayerful contemplation ...
  • Mientras vamos acercándonos al final de la Cuaresma hacia la Semana Santa, entremos a estas solemnes celebraciones con una contemplación orante...

 

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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