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

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointments

  • Rev. Gerold M. Langsch, ISP, pastor at St. Paul Parish in Austin, effective Dec. 1, 2015.
  • Nancy Sander as Vice Chancellor, effective Nov. 13, 2015.

Advent Penance Services

The diocese has posted a list of Advent Penance Services by deanery.

Office closings

All diocesan offices will be closed Tuesday, Dec. 8, in observance of the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

Pope Francis has announced an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy beginning on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and concluding on Nov. 20, 2016, the feast of Christ the King. The Diocese of Austin will observe the jubilee throughout the year by highlighting mercy under three aspects: availing ourselves to receive God’s mercy, especially through the sacraments; catechesis to help us better understand God’s mercy; and obeying the call to share God’s mercy with others, especially through the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. In addition to the many resources available on the Vatican website (, parishes are encouraged to visit the diocesan website, where they can find helpful links and local information about the Blessing and Opening of the Holy Doors for the jubilee on Dec. 13 at St. Mary Cathedral at 9:30 a.m. by Bishop Joe Vásquez and at St. Joseph in Mason at 10:30 a.m. by Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Garcia. The site also includes details on the five designated pilgrimage sites (St. Mary Cathedral, St. Joseph in Mason, Sacred Heart Parish in Waco, Holy Trinity Parish in Corn Hill and St. Mary Parish in College Station) and instructions on obtaining the jubilee indulgence.


Reflection question

Gospel meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Dec. 20):

  • “I come to do your will.” This was Jesus’ mission statement. By Mary’s obedience to God’s will, the Divine Word becomes man. When we do God’s will, God’s presence is made manifest in us. Do we take time to listen to and cooperate with God’s will or are we too focused on our own will? What is God asking of you today and this week?
  • "Vine a hacer tu voluntad". Esta fue la declaración de la misión de Jesús. Por la obediencia de María hacia la voluntad de Dios, el Divino Verbo se hace hombre. Cuando hacemos la voluntad de Dios la presencia de Dios se manifiesta en nosotros ¿Nos damos tiempo para escuchar y cooperar con la voluntad de Dios o estamos demasiado enfocados en nuestra propia voluntad? ¿Qué está pidiendo de usted Dios esta semana?


Black Catholics

World AIDS Day services

In commemoration of World AIDS Day, which falls on Dec. 1, the Stations of the Cross from an HIV/AIDS Perspective will be held on Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Holy Cross Parish in Austin. An HIV/AIDS Rosary will held at St. Joseph Parish in Killeen on Dec. 5 at 5 p.m.​ An HIV/AIDS Rosary, Mass and liturgical dance will be held at Holy Cross Parish on Dec. 6.


Hispanic Ministry

Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration

The annual diocesan celebration for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be Dec. 5 at St. Anthony Parish in Kyle. Buses will leave St. Anthony at 8:30 a.m. to take everyone to the starting point for the procession which begins at 9:30 a.m. Organizations and schools are invited to bring their banners to carry in the procession. Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Garcia will celebrate Mass at 10:30 a.m. after the procession. After Mass there will be a fiesta with matachines, mariachis, food and activities for the kids. For more details visit


Catholic Services Appeal

Update on pledges

Thank you for your continued support and generosity to the Catholic Services Appeal. To date, we have received pledges from more than 6,900 families totaling more than $1.8 million. Parishioners are encouraged to generously support the CSA.


Pro-Life Activities


Texas Catholic Pro-Life Day: Jan. 23

Join Catholics from across the state to promote a Culture of Life on Texas Catholic Pro-Life Day on Jan. 23. Prayer begins at 7 a.m. at Planned Parenthood at 201 E. Ben White in Austin and then all will proceed to St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Austin at 9 a.m. Mass with Bishop Joe Vásquez begins at 10 a.m. Lunch will be available after Mass. Busses will be available to join the March for Life, which starts at 1 p.m. in downtown Austin at 18th Street and Congress Ave. to join the Rally for Life at the Capitol at 2 p.m. Buses will return to St. Vincent de Paul at 3:30 p.m. from the southeast corner of the Capitol at Brazos & 13th streets. T-shirts and bus tickets are on sale now!

Gabriel Project Angels training 

Gabriel Project Angels are volunteers who work with those in need of emotional and spiritual support due to an unplanned pregnancy. There is a need for angels across the diocese. The next Gabriel Project Angel training will be held at St. Paul Parish in Austin on Jan. 9 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Mary Helen Russell at (512) 949-2488. 


Weekly notes

Pope Francis’ prayer requests

  • That all may experience the mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving …
  • Para que todos experimentemos la misericordia de Dios que no se cansa jamás de perdonar...
  • That families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope …
  • Para que las familias, de modo particular las que sufren, encuentren en el nacimiento de Jesús un signo de segura esperanza...

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Dec. 20):

  • May all the faithful continue to listen to and follow God’s will, so we might give birth in our lives to Christ, who is peace for all the world…
  • Que todos los fieles continúen escuchando y siguiendo la voluntad de Dios para que podamos dar a luz en nuestras vidas a Cristo, quien es paz para todo el mundo...

Blessings and congratulations to …

The following priests on the anniversary of their ordination during the month of December: Rev. Abraham Puentes Mejia, Dec. 2, 1994; Rev. Jairo Lopez, Dec. 4, 1994; Rev. Javier Toscano, Dec. 10, 2006; Rev. José Luis Comparán, Dec. 13, 2003; Rev. Marcelo Aravena, ISP, Dec. 14, 1985; Msgr. Tom Frank, Dec. 18, 1970; Very Rev. Richard O'Rourke, MSC, Dec. 19, 1965; Rev. Walter Carr, Dec. 19, 1992; Rev. Melvin Dornak, Dec. 19, 1992; Rev. George C. George, Dec. 20, 1986; Rev. Robert Kincl, JCL, Dec. 21, 1967; Rev. Joy Joseph Adimakkeel, Dec. 23, 1980; Rev. George Thirumangalam, CMI, Dec. 28, 1976 and Rev. Pius Thekkevayalil Mathew, Dec. 31, 1990.


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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