The Friday E-Pistle (Jan. 15, 2016)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointments

  • Friar Jorge Hernandez de Luna, OFM Conv., administrator, San Francisco Javier Parish in Austin and San Juan Diego Mission in Stony Point, effective Dec. 22, 2015.
  • Friar Marcelino Pena Tadeo, OFM Conv., administrator, Cristo Rey Parish in Austin, effective Jan. 8, 2016.

Offices closed

All diocesan offices will be closed on Monday, Jan. 18, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Offices will reopen on Jan. 19.

Closing of Year of Consecrated Life

The consecrated religious orders and communities of women and men serving in the Diocese of Austin will celebrate the closing of the Year of Consecrated Life on Feb. 6 at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin. The event begins with Mass at 10 a.m., followed by a luncheon in Bishop’s Hall. Jubilarians will be honored. Members of religious communities who have not already responded to the initial invitation, please respond by Jan. 28 to Janice Ingram at (512) 949-2401. Those who are celebrating a jubilee year in 2016 should also inform Janice Ingram.


Reflection question

Gospel meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jan. 31):

  • God formed us in the womb and knows each of us intimately. God calls each of us and continues to shape us in Christ to be living icons of God’s presence. Any parent knows children remember our actions much more than our words. How can I proclaim the Gospel in my actions? Does my life express the joy and mercy of the Gospel? How may I seek the Lord’s presence in order to be a more faithful disciple?
  • Dios nos formó en el vientre materno y nos conoce a cada uno íntimamente. Dios nos llama a cada uno y continúa formándonos en Cristo para que seamos iconos vivos de la presencia de Dios. Cualquier padre o madre sabe que los niños recuerdan nuestras acciones más que nuestras palabras ¿Cómo puedo proclamar el Evangelio con mis acciones? ¿Mi vida expresa el gozo y la misericordia del Evangelio? ¿Cómo puedo buscar la presencia del Señor para ser un discípulo más fiel?


Pastoral Plan

Assessment Tool

The Pastoral Plan Parish Assessment Tool will be sent out to all pastors on Jan. 29. The tool is a simple way to review the parish ministries and activities using the 24 objectives in the Pastoral Plan. 

Pastoral Plan presentations

On Jan. 28 Bishop Daniel Garcia will give a presentation in Spanish on the Pastoral Plan: Encounter that Leads to Transformation. This event is the first in a series presented by both bishops. The Jan. 28 event will be held at San José Parish in Austin from 7 to 9 p.m. and will include prayer and reflection and a reception will conclude the evening. Bishop Garcia will then do an English presentation on March 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. at San José Parish in Austin. Download a flier that can be shared with parishioners.

Pastoral Plan banners

The banners for the Pastoral Plan: Encounter that Leads to Transformation may now be ordered for your parish, Catholic school or other Catholic organizations. The pull up banners are made of durable fabric, easy to set up almost instantly, portable and attractive. The banners have the Pastoral Plan title, logo, are colorful and made be ordered with one of three images. They provide a very professional look and are designed to make an impact on your parishioners and assist in promoting Pastoral Plan. With the diocese subsidizing a portion of the cost, each parish, school or organization can purchase a banner for $100. Click here to order your banners.


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.


Youth and Young Adult Ministry

Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit Retreat

The Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit Retreat will be held Feb. 27-28 at Eagle’s Wings Retreat Center. Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit is a youth retreat opportunity for those preparing for Confirmation or parishes looking for a Holy Spirit-focused retreat experience and is designed to be experienced by parish groups. The cost is $70, which includes meals and materials, and scholarships are available. More information can be found here.

Youth Ministry Essentials

The Youth Ministry Essentials Courses will be held Feb. 20 at the diocesan Pastoral Center in Austin. Youth ministers, volunteers and anyone interested in a youth ministry crash course are invited to join us for one or all of the courses: Vision of Youth Ministry, Prayer and Worship with Adolescents, Basics of Planning and Programming and Social Mission and Retreat Formation. More information can be found here.


Canonical and Tribunal Office

Annulment: Pathway to Healing

The seminar, Annulment: Pathway to Healing, will be given at the diocesan Pastoral Center beginning Jan. 22 from 7 to 9 p.m. and continuing Jan. 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The purpose of this seminar is to encourage participants to begin a journey in awareness of the healing process of nullity (annulment) through a straight-to-the-heart response to persons considering or already seeking a declaration of nullity. Register at The registration deadline has been extended to Jan. 20.

Advocacy Training for Nullity

The Advocacy Training for Nullity workshop includes a review of the process of petitioning for an annulment, applicable canon law, processes and procedures, petitions and grounds, resources, questions and answers. The workshop will be held Feb. 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the diocesan Pastoral Center. Registration closes on Jan. 29. Laity desiring to become an advocate must be delegated by their pastor.


Ethics and Integrity in Ministry

Facilitator Training for Called to Protect for Youth

On March 5, the EIM office will train new facilitators for the Called to Protect for Youth, CTPY, program (the abuse prevention/education program for middle/high school students). The day-long CTPY facilitator training (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) prepares facilitators to present the CTPY program at their own parish/Catholic school, etc. The future frequency and location of workshops presented is up to the individual facilitator. Facilitators attending the training receive a manual and DVD that covers the logistics and details of the program, activities related to the program and information about the topic of sexual abuse.

Note: Parishes and schools in the Diocese of Austin are required to provide the Called to Protect for Youth program annually for their sixth and ninth graders; students in other middle and high school grades new to the parish/school should also be invited to attend. It is recommended that all parishes/Catholic schools have an in-house facilitator, or one with whom they regularly work, in order to simplify the scheduling of the program at the parish/school.

Those interested in being trained to facilitate the CTPY workshop should submit a New Facilitator Application, along with the requested information, to the EIM office by Feb. 19. Contact Emily Hurlimann at (512) 949-2447 with questions. Once the application is received and reviewed by the EIM office, applicants will be contacted with details of the training session.


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 19,000 families totaling more than $5 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.


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jan. 31):

  • For all the faithful, called to be modern disciples and prophets, that by making God’s mercy known to all people, our world may be drawn into love and peace which is God, we pray… 
  • Por todos los fieles llamados a ser discípulos modernos y profetas, para que, al hacer que la presencia de Dios sea conocida por toda la gente, nuestro mundo sea atraído hacia el amor y la paz que es Dios, 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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