The Friday E-Pistle (Nov. 20, 2015)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Offices closed

Diocesan offices will be closed Nov. 26-27 for the Thanksgiving holiday. Offices will reopen on Monday, Nov. 30. The E-Pistle will not be published on Nov. 27. The next edition will be published on Dec. 4.

Texas Catholic Bishops' statement on refugees and security

The Texas Catholic Conference has issued a statement from all the bishops of Texas regarding refugees and security. Read the full statement. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also released a statement regarding the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

Pastoral Plan

The Pastoral Plan is being distributed to parishes and diocesan staff members. Our main goal is to communicate information about the plan and add content to the Pastoral Plan web page. The Study Guide is now available on the website in English and in Spanish. It is designed for parishioners and parish organizations to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and grow in their understanding of the Pastoral Plan. The website’s Toolbox contains ideas about communicating the plan and making it available to parishioners. A separate Toolbox lists ideas and resources for particular initiatives and objectives. Please access and view the short videos that feature people talking about their faith and how they have encountered Christ. This is a great idea that could be used at parish events and gatherings. Details about the Pastoral Plan can be found at


Reflection question

Gospel meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for the Second Sunday of Advent (Dec. 6):

  • Today, the Lord invites us to “repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Level and straighten the road to the Lord. Salvation is God’s work and is freely offered. Repentance, turning away from what separates us from God, is our work for which God supplies the grace. Our lives, like the liturgy, are words connected with actions. We must say “Yes” to God in word and action. What are the mountains, valleys and obstacles that prevent us from an encounter with the Lord?
  • Hoy, el Señor nos invita a "arrepentirnos para el perdón de los pecados". Nivelar y enderezar el camino hacia el Señor. La salvación es el trabajo del Señor y es ofrecida libremente. El arrepentimiento, el separarnos de aquello que nos separa de Dios, es nuestro trabajo para el cual Dios nos provee de la gracia. Nuestras vidas, como la liturgia, son palabras conectadas con acciones. Debemos decir "sí" a Dios en palabras y acciones ¿Cuáles son las montañas, los valles y obstáculos que nos impiden encontrarnos con el Señor?

Please consider using the following meditation for the Third Sunday of Advent (Dec. 13):

  • What should we do? In our busy lives we often want to know the immediate answer. No wasted time. Just tell me what to do! On this Gaudete Sunday we are invited to Sing joyfully! Rejoice! Serve. Do what is right. If we have two, give one away. When you light a candle, the light of the first is not diminished. Christ is our joy! When we share that joy we share Christ. Is Christ the top priority of my life or do other things cloud my vision? What should I do?
  • ¿Qué debemos hacer? en nuestras ocupadas vidas con frecuencia queremos saber la respuesta inmediata. Sin desperdiciar tiempo ¡Sólo dime qué hacer! En este domingo de Gaudete ¡estamos invitados a cantar con alegría! !Regocíjense! Sirvan. Hagan lo correcto. Si tienen dos, den una. Cuando encienden otra vela, la luz de la primera no disminuye ¡Cristo es nuestro gozo! Cuando compartimos ese gozo, compartimos a Cristo ¿Es Cristo la prioridad en mi vida u otras cosas nublan mi visión? ¿Qué debo hacer?


Finance Office

Special enrollment opportunity

The medical plans offered by the Diocese of Austin allow for a special enrollment opportunity for employees and dependents who are already participating in the Deluxe Plan to elect the Consumer Driven Health Plan (CDHP) effective Jan. 1. We strongly encourage all employees to consider the CDHP option, as it will save money for most employees and families.

The diocese is offering this special enrollment so that employees can move to the CDHP option on Jan. 1, which is when deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums “start over.” This avoids having to satisfy a large deductible in the second half of the year following the traditional July 1 open enrollment date.

Employees cannot drop or add dependents during this special enrollment opportunity; they can only move from the Deluxe Plan to the CDHP option at this time.

The special enrollment will begin on Nov. 19 and end on Dec. 4. A PowerPoint presentation on the CDHP has been sent to all Parish Business Administrators. If you have any questions, please call Krystal Reyes in the Finance Office at (512) 949-2424.


Vocation Office

GIVEN Leadership Forum

The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious are hosting the GIVEN Catholic Young Women’s Leadership Forum June 7-12 in Washington. The forum, open to women ages 20-30, is a week-long immersion in faith formation, leadership training and networking. The Forum will provide a platform for what St. John Paul II called “the feminine genius,” and a response to Pope Francis’ plea for a deeper understanding and activation of the unique gift of women in the Church and the world. For more information, visit


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request for the Second Sunday of Advent (Dec. 6):

  • For all members of the Church, may our actions of love, peace, forgiveness and mercy announce and manifest the salvation of God to others…
  • Por todos los miembros de la Iglesia, para que nuestras acciones de amor, paz, perdón y misericordia anuncien y manifiesten la salvación de Dios a los demás...

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request for the Third Sunday of Advent (Dec. 13):

  • For all the members of the Church, that they may overflow with rejoicing as we encounter the Lord and experience his great love and mercy…
  • Por todos los miembros de la Iglesia, para que nos llenemos de regocijo mientras encontramos al Señor y experimentamos su gran amor y misericordia...

March for Religious Freedom

All are invited to a March for Religious Freedom on Nov. 22, in honor of Christ the King. The procession will begin at 10 a.m. in Wooldridge Square Park (Eighth and Guadalupe streets) and end at the Texas Capitol. The event is called the March for Religious Freedom and is sponsored by the Greater Austin Knights of Columbus. State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., K of C State Secretary Doug Oldmixon, Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values, and Archbishop George Michael Jachimczyk of the Eastern Orthodox Churchwill speak to the participants at 11 a.m. at the Capitol. The relics of six Catholic saints who were Knights of Columbus will accompany the march (more information about the relics).


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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