The Friday E-Pistle (May 8, 2015)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Special Collection: May 23-24

The weekend of May 23-24 all parishes in the Diocese of Austin are to take up a special collection for disaster relief in Nepal. The following announcements should be read before all Masses that weekend:

  • The Diocese of Austin will take up a special collection on May 23-24 for the work of Catholic Relief Services in Nepal to assist those who have suffered as a result of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal in the late morning of April 25, toppling buildings and homes, causing widespread panic and claiming thousands of lives.  Our church mourns the terrible suffering of our brothers and sisters affected by this powerful earthquake. Please join with the Catholic community across the U.S. in responding to our suffering brothers and sisters. CRS is the official humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the U.S. and is already responding to urgent needs for shelter, water and food in Nepal. For more information, go to
  • La Diócesis de Austin realizará una colecta especial los días 23-24 de mayo de 2015, para el trabajo de los Catholic Relief Services (Servicios de Ayuda Católicos, CRS por sus siglas en inglés) en Nepal para ayudar a aquellos que han sufrido como resultado del terremoto de 7.8 grados de magnitud que golpeó a Nepal durante la mañana del 25 de abril, derribando edificios y hogares, causando pánico generalizado y causando la pérdida de miles de vidas. Nuestra iglesia está de luto por el terrible sufrimiento de nuestros hermanos y hermanas afectados por este poderoso terremoto. Por favor únanse a la comunidad Católica de todo Estados Unidos en responder a nuestros hermanos y hermanas que sufren. CRS es la agencia humanitaria oficial de la comunidad Católica en los Estados Unidos y se encuentra ya respondiendo a las urgentes necesidades de albergue, agua y alimentos en Nepal. Para mayor información, vaya a


Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for the feast of Pentecost (May 24):

  • At Pentecost, Jesus gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit to be our Advocate and guide. How often to you pray to the Holy Spirit? Remember to include the Spirit in your daily prayers.
  • En Pentecostés, Jesús nos dió el don del Espíritu Santo para que abogara por nosotros y nos guiara ¿Con qué frequencia ora usted al Espíritu Santo? Recuerde incluir al Espíritu en sus oraciones diarias.


Pro-Life Activities Office

Theology of the Body leadership classes

Theology of the Body leadership classes will be conducted around the diocese this summer. Leadership classes are an essential tool for educators. This facilitated program allows the authors of the curriculum to teach segments of the program to help you better understand the message about the beauty and dignity of being human. This series will include commentaries by authors Jason and Crystalina Evert and Brian Butler. This program will help catechists, DREs and school teachers fulfill the 8-hour TOB/Chaste Living requirement and counts as continuing education for the Adult Formation Program. To register for the course, click here.


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

June 5-10: Desert Solitude

The practice of intentional silence is non-negotiable. It is essential to growth and spiritual awakening. You just have to do it! Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton offers that opportunity with Desert Solitude, a six-day silent retreat on June 5-10. Centering prayer and daily Mass are at the heart of this retreat. Options are available for three-, four- and five-night retreats. To register, contact Cedarbrake at (254) 780-2436.

6 de junio: La Mujer Samaritana Nuestra Sed para Dios

Todos tenemos sed de Dios y estamos buscando a Dios en nuestras vidas. Jesús encontro a una mujer samaritana y  le ofreció agua viva y un nuevo comienzo en su vida. "El que beba del agua que yo le doy nunca volverá a tener sed, y el  agua que yo le doy brotará como un manatial dentro de él" dice Jesús. El día de retiro incluye presentaciones sobre Juan 4:1-42, tiempo para compartir en grupos y tiempo en silencio. El día será guiado por la Hermana Elena (Helen) Raycraft, OP. El costo es de $25 y el almuerzo está incluido. Para registrase, contacte al Centro de Retiros Cedarbrake escribiendo a: o llamando al (254) 780-2436.


Catholic Schools

Strategic Plan survey

As part of the ongoing commitment to implementing the Catholic schools strategic plan and improving Catholic school education throughout the Diocese of Austin, the Office of Catholic Schools (OCS) is conducting an online survey to address the education choices for your children. The OCS hopes to understand why parents choose to enroll or not to enroll their children at a Catholic school. Please visit the website to complete the survey in English or Spanish. Please complete the survey by May 18.


Finance Office

Health insurance enrollment

The open enrollment period for health insurance will begin on May 11 and end on June 19. During this time, an employee may enroll, add or drop coverage without a qualifying event. Dependent children are eligible until age 26 without student status. All changes made during this time period will be effective until June 30, 2016.

All employees currently enrolled in the plan will automatically be enrolled unless they terminate coverage.

The average increase in costs for coverage is approximately 2 percent for all plans, with the exception of the High Deductible Plan for which there is no increase in premium. There will be no changes to the Deluxe Plan and the only change to the High Deducible plan is that the deductible will increase to $2,600 per the federal regulations effective July 1, 2015.

Special collection money due

Please send funds collected for the Catholic Higher Education special collection, taken up Feb. 7-8, and the World and Home Missions special collection, taken up Feb. 18, to the diocesan Finance Office as soon as possible. Send checks to Finance Office, Diocese of Austin, 6225 Highway 290 East, Austin, TX 78723.


Youth Ministry

Servus Dei

Servus Dei is a three-day social justice adventure for young adolescents between sixth and eighth grades. Servus Dei provides prayer experiences, engaging learning activities based on the life of Jesus and Catholic social teaching and introduces young adolescents to service as an integral part of Christian discipleship. The service involvement takes place at local agencies and centers that assist people in need. The retreat will take place June 18-20  and the cost $85. On-time registration must be submitted by June 1, with late registration due by June 11. Youth may register through their parish youth ministry representative. For more information, visit here or contact Jennifer Kodysz at (512) 949-2467.


Stewardship and Development Office

PDS conversions

We have converted 74 parishes to PDS ChurchOffice. 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 for the schedule as well as training sessions. We are also beginning the data synchronization process from the parishes to the diocese. The upcoming conversions this week are St. John the Evangelist in Marble Falls, St. Anthony in Bryan and St. Paul the Apostle in Horseshoe Bay.


Weekly notes

Pope Francis' prayer intentions

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

  • That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbors who suffer, especially the sick and the poor …
  • Para que, rechazando la cultura de la indiferencia, cuidemos a los que sufren, en particular a los enfermos y los pobres ...
  • That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus …
  • Por que la intercesión de María ayude a los cristianos que viven en contextos secularizados a hacerse disponibles para anunciar a Jesús ...

Bishop Vásquez' prayer intention

Please consider using the following prayer intention for feast of Pentecost (May 24):

  • That through the seven-fold gifts of the Spirit, we may be faithful witnesses to Jesus Christ and the Gospels …
  • Para que a través de los siete dones del Espíritu, podamos ser testigos fieles de Jesucristo y del Evangelio...


Ethics and Integrity in Ministry

EIM Basic and Refresher Workshops

Click here to login to your EIM account in order to find the workshop schedule and Sign Up for a Workshop (bottom right of your account page). Instructions are provided in case you do not recall how to login to 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. For general information about EIM workshops, please click here.

EIM Basic and Refresher Workshops are scheduled 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 should coordinate with their EIM site administrator. If the site administrator has arranged workshop details with a facilitator, then an email to the EIM office with those details is sufficient to request a workshop; otherwise workshop requests should be made by the site administrator using the Workshop Request Table. EIM site administrators may direct inquiries about EIM workshop scheduling to Emily Hurlimann in the EIM Office at (512) 949-2447.

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