The Friday E-Pistle (Sept. 4, 2015)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Pastoral Plan update: Encounter that Leads to Transformation

The Pastoral Plan will first be presented to the priests at their October Convocation. Then on Oct. 12 at St. Mary Cathedral from 7 to 9 p.m. it will be presented to the pastors and parish representatives. Parishes will receive the entire plan booklet, posters and handouts. A study guide is being developed to help people understand and use the plan to reflect on their faith personally, among family members and within the parish community. All material will be presented in English and Spanish then made available on the website in Vietnamese and Korean. Details about the Pastoral Plan will be shared here and on the diocesan website. For any questions please send an email message to

Diocesan Adult confirmation

Diocesan Adult Confirmation liturgy is being celebrated Dec. 5 at Santa Cruz Parish in Buda at 10:30 a.m. Click here to access the the registration form. Please complete and email the form to Kathy Thomas no later than Nov. 13. If you cannot meet the deadline, the Worship Office can supply dates and parishes where the bishops will be celebrating confirmations in the diocese that your candidates may attend. Please contact the Office of Worship, if you have any questions about the celebration or registration at (512) 949-2429.

Pastoral Manual update

The Pastoral Manual has been updated. Please take note of the following changes that were made:

  • Page E22, Sec. III-I was rewritten.
  • Page E27, Sec. IV-A-12, Emergencies was rewritten.
  • Page AA4 was deleted, subsequent pages were  renumbered.
  • Page Z2 was deleted, subsequent pages were renumbered.

All sections of the manual are now labeled “8/28/15 | Version 5.1.” All previous versions of the manual are now obsolete. The Pastoral Manual is available online, in sections and as a whole, at


Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Sept. 20):

  • The idea of being childlike is not often popular. Who wants to be powerless or voiceless? When Jesus is handed over to the authorities, he empties himself of all control and power. He teaches us, as disciples, we are to do the same. Where do I need to relinquish power and control to be more childlike -- in order to be a better disciple?
  • La idea de ser como niños, con frecuencia no es popular ¿Quién quisiera no tener poder o voz? Cuando Jesús es entregado a las autoridades, él se vacía a si mismo de todo control y poder. Él nos enseña que como discípulos debemos hacer lo mismo ¿En qué necesito renunciar al poder y al control para ser más como niño -- para poder ser un mejor discípulo?

Office of Black Catholics

Courageous Conversations

A Justice and Peace Forum will be held Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. at St. David Episcopal Church in Austin. The forum is the most recent in the ongoing Courageous Conversation on Racism for the Austin area. Co-sponsors include Holy Cross Parish in Austin, the Diocese of Austin, St. Austin Parish in Austin, St. John Neumann Parish in Austin and Pax Christi Austin. Join us for the next Courageous Conversation on Racism. Hear the effects of racism on everyone and develop actions to end racism in our communities.


Stewardship and Development Office

2015-2016 CSA Sessions

Priests, parish secretaries, business administrators, CSA coordinators, and stewardship and development administrators are strongly encouraged to attend one of the training sessions for this year’s Catholic Services Appeal.

  • You are welcome to attend the session that is most convenient for you.
  • At least one person from each parish must attend.
  • New pastors and newly ordained priests are encouraged to attend.
  • Topics covered will include previous CSA results, raising awareness, parish materials, the CSA case statement, conducting the appeal and return procedures.
  • Parish CSA materials will be distributed at this time.
  • You must RSVP in order to receive your materials.

Please RSVP online at by Sept. 15.

Priest Only 2015-2016 CSA Lunch Session

All priests are encouraged to attend a “priest only” Catholic Services Appeal session – lunch will be provided.

  • New pastors and newly ordained priests are encouraged to attend.
  • Topics covered will include: previous CSA results, raising awareness, parish materials, the CSA case statement, conducting the appeal, and return procedures.

Please RSVP online at (PRIEST ONLY LUNCH SESSION) or e-mail Margaret Kappel at by Sept. 15.


Youth Ministry

Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference

Do you know a teen who may be interested in serving at the annual Austin Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference this year? Discipleship (C)hrist-centered (R)enewed (E)ucharistic (W)itness is a team of youth that ultimately seeks to draw others to Christ through their service, faith and witness at the conference. This team is formerly called the “Youth Animator” team. The Discipleship CREW experience may include time on stage, serving in workshops, hospitality and in various ways as needed throughout the weekend. We encourage people who love to serve to apply, even if they aren’t comfortable on stage. Applications will be accepted through Sept. 13. More information can be found here, or by e-mailing Jennifer Kodysz or calling (512) 949-2467.

Middle School Rally

The annual Middle School Rally will take place on Oct. 24 at Sacred Heart Parish in LaGrange. This is an opportunity for youth in grades six through eight from across the diocese to come together in a conference format for a fun day of dynamic keynote presentations, prayer, fellowship and workshops that help them grow in faith. The keynote speaker is Pat Millea whose energetic and engaging presentation style will take the youth through the theme “the Promise” and what it means to live as disciples and people who grow in strength and grace in the sacraments. More information can be found here, or by e-mailing Jennifer Kodysz or calling (512) 949-2467.


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

October 10: Dinner for Single Catholics

Enjoy an evening together with single Catholics from the diocese on Oct. 10 at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. Good food, fellowship and two brief reflections will make up this evening. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $15 per person. For more information or to register, contact Cedarbrake at (254) 780-2436 or


Catholic Charities of Central Texas

Angels of Hope Golf Tournament

Hit a hole-in-one for the Brazos Valley and join Catholic Charities of Central Texas for a day of golf, food, prizes and fun at the seventh annual Angels of Hope Golf Tournament on Sept. 18. All proceeds go directly to helping families in the Brazos Valley. Sponsorships and underwriting start at $100. Sign up today by visiting or calling (979) 822-9340.


Vocation Office

Borromeo House Discernment Dinner

Single, Catholic men ages 18 and up with an openness to discovering God’s will in their life are invited to an evening that includes dinner, prayer, fellowship, conversation about the priesthood, discernment, prayer and virtue. This group meets on the second Wednesday of the month at the St. Charles Borromeo House of Discernment, 905B Duncan Lane in Austin. The first dinner for the fall will be Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit


Weekly notes

Pope Francis’ prayer intentions

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

  • That opportunities for education and employment may increase for all young people ...
  • Para que crezcan las oportunidades de formación y de trabajo para todos los jóvenes ...
  • That catechists may give witness by living in a way consistent with the faith they proclaim ...
  • Para que la vida toda de los catequistas sea un testimonio coherente de la fe que anuncian ...

Bishop Vasquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Sept. 20):

  • May we strive to empty ourselves each day in order to become better servants to those who are powerless and voiceless in our society ...
  • Que nos esforcemos por vaciarnos a nosotros mismos cada día para que nos convirtamos en mejores servidores de aquellos que no tienen poder o voz en nuestra sociedad....

Watch party as Pope Francis address Congress

St. Thomas More Parish in Austin invites everyone to the Parish Activity Center for The Pope Goes to Congress Watch Party on Sept 24. Gathering time is 8 a.m. and the live stream begins at 8:20 a.m. The event will repeat at 6:30 p.m.


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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