The Friday E-Pistle (Jan. 8, 2016)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointment

Deacon Michael Marchek has been incardinated into the Diocese of Austin, effective Dec. 23, 2015.  He serves at St. Paul Parish in Austin.

White Mass with the Rite of Anointing of the Sick

The annual White Mass will be Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. at St. Louis King of France Parish in Austin. Bishop Joe Vásquez will celebrate the Mass, which will include the Anointing of the Sick. To RSVP, visit For Anointing, register at

Reflection question

Gospel meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jan. 24):

  • The Jewish people had just returned to Jerusalem after 70 years. Ezra read the Law (the first five books of the Bible) to the people and the Levites interpreted God’s word to them. More than an interpretation, Jesus is God’s Word incarnate. Are we moved to praise God when we hear God’s Word? Do we recognize our encounter with Jesus Christ in the proclaimed Word, or are we distantly reading along? As a member of Christ’s body, how do people encounter God through me?
  •  El pueblo judío acababa de volver a Jerusalén después de 70 años. Esdras leyó la Ley  (los primeros cinco libros de la Biblia) a la gente y los Levitas interpretaron la palabra de Dios para ellos. Más que una interpretación, Jesús es la Palabra de Dios encarnada. ¿Nos sentimos motivados a adorar a Dios cuando escuchamos la Palabra de Dios? ¿Reconocemos nuestro encuentro con Jesucristo en la Palabra proclamada o sólo la leemos de manera distante? Como miembro del cuerpo de Cristo, ¿Cómo encuentra la gente a Cristo a través de mí?


Office of Black Catholics

Annual MLK Mass

The annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Mass will be Jan. 17 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin. The Mass will be followed by a reception. Bishop Joe S. Vásquez will be the main celebrant and Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Garcia will concelebrate. Due to this Mass, there will be no 10 a.m. Mass at Holy Cross Parish in Austin.


Office of Worship

Rite of Election

Parish RCIA directors are encouraged to begin discernment of the readiness of catechumens and candidates for Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion, which will be celebrated on Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. in St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Bryan and on Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at St. John Vianney Parish in Round Rock.  A sample interview form will be sent to parishes this week.  This combined rite is for all catechumens (non-baptized person age 7 and up) who are preparing for initiation at the coming Easter Vigil on March 26 through Baptism, Confirmation and holy Communion. It is also for candidates, those who were previously baptized outside of the Catholic Church seeking to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church through profession of faith, Confirmation and Holy Communion and for previously baptized but uncatechized Catholics seeking Confirmation and Eucharist. Catechumens are expected to attend the rite, however, it is optional for those previously baptized and for younger children.  The registration site is


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

Upcoming Retreats

  • Healing Hearts is a weekend retreat designed for women who have suffered any kind of sexual trauma. The next retreat will be Jan. 22-24 and begins Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. and concludes at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. The cost for the retreat is $135 and includes two nights, linens, materials and meals. For more information and to register, call (254) 780-2436 and ask for Beverly.
  • Encountering Christ is a retreat co-sponsored by Cedarbrake and led by the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist on Jan. 30 at St. John Vianney Parish in Round Rock. The day retreat will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will be based on the diocesan Pastoral Plan entitled “Encounter that Leads to Transformation.” The cost is $25 with lunch included. Register through Cedarbrake at (254) 780-2436.


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. for Mass with Bishop Joe Vásquez at 10 a.m. Lunch will be available after Mass. Buses will be available to join the March for Life, which starts at 1 p.m. in downtown Austin at 18th Street and Congress Ave., followed by 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. Register online or for more information, contact Mary Helen Russell at (512) 949-2488.


Stewardship and Development Office

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 18,000 families totaling more than $4.7 million.


Catholic Schools

Celebrating Catholic Schools Event

The eighth annual Celebrating Catholic Schools Event will be Jan. 30 from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Hyatt, Town Lake in Austin. Cecilia Abbott, First Lady of Texas, will be the keynote speaker. The evening includes a reception, dinner, honoree recognition, keynote speaker and an after party. To buy a table, ticket or make a donation, visit or contact Jean Bondy at (512) 949-2439.


Finance Office

Special Collection money due

Please send funds collected for the World Mission Sunday special collection, taken up Oct. 17-18, to the diocesan Finance Office as soon as possible. Send checks to Finance Office, Diocese of Austin, 6225 Highway 290 East, Austin, TX 78723.


Weekly notes

Pope Francis’ prayer requests

Please consider Pope Francis’s prayer requests for the month of January:

  • That sincere dialogue among men and women of different faiths may produce the fruits of peace and justice …
  • Que el diálogo sincero entre hombres y mujeres de diversas religiones, conlleve frutos de paz y justicia...
  • That by means of dialogue and fraternal charity and with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Christians may overcome divisions …
  • Para que mediante el diálogo y la caridad fraterna, con la gracia del Espíritu Santo, se superen las divisiones entre los cristianos...

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jan. 24):

  • For the members of the Body of Christ, that they may have strength in the Holy Spirit, to confidently manifest God’s mercy and love within our troubled world, we pray…
  • Por los miembros del Cuerpo de Cristo, para que tengan la fuerza en el Espíritu Santo para manifestar con confianza la misericordia y el amor de Dios en nuestro abrumado mundo, oremos...


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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