The Friday E-Pistle (March 18, 2016)
A message from Bishop Vásquez
- Very Rev. Nock Russell as Dean of the Brenham/La Grange Deanery, effective March 17, 2016.
- Friar Genaro Mayorga Reyes, TOR, as parochial vicar, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Austin, effective March 11, 2016.
All diocesan offices will close at noon on Holy Thursday, March 24, in observance of the Triduum and Easter. Diocesan offices will reopen on Tuesday, March 29.
The E-Pistle will not be published on Good Friday, March 25. The next edition of the E-Pistle will be published on April 1.
As we enter Holy Week, I pray that each of you will experience the profound love of Jesus Christ as you celebrate his Passion, Death and Resurrection. During this Easter season, may you and your loved ones be filled with the joy of the Risen Lord. Know that I am praying for you, and I ask that you remember me in your prayers also.
Adult Confirmation liturgy
The diocesan Adult Confirmation liturgy will be celebrated April 23 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Cedar Park. Parishes should download the registration form to register their candidates for confirmation. The registration deadline for this liturgy is April 8. Contact the Worship Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 949-2429 with questions.
Pastoral Plan update
On Tuesday, April 5 from 7 to 9 p.m., St. Thomas More Parish in Austin will host a presentation by Bishop Joe Vásquez on the Pastoral Plan: Encounter that Leads to Transformation. The presentation will be in English and it will be held in Brennan Hall in the Religious Education Building. The presentation is an opportunity to be with our bishop and learn more about the plan, what it means for our diocese and how it can personally help each of us in our faith journey. The evening will include prayer, reflection and a reception. Download the flier for this event.
What can your parish do with the Pastoral Plan?
- Read the plan and use the Study Guide to reflect on the vision and goals. One of the most inspiring sections of the plan describes where we want to be in five years.
- Determine the greatest needs for your parish community.
- Discuss what resources are available within the parish and deanery to meet those needs.
- Contact the diocese to assist in addressing those needs.
- Encourage parishioners to access the information and resources about the plan on the webpage at www.austindiocese.org.
- Pray for the fruitful implementation of the plan throughout the diocese.
Special Collection: Good Friday: March 25
All parishes in the Diocese of Austin are to take up a special collection for the Holy Land on Good Friday, March 25. The following announcements should be read before services or before the collection is taken up on Good Friday.
- In today’s service we will take up the annual collection to support Christians in the Holy Land. Our contributions will assist the Franciscan friars and others in housing and feeding the poor, providing religious formation and education, maintaining shrines and parishes, and conducting pastoral ministry. This annual Good Friday Collection offers a direct link to help maintain a Christian presence in the Holy Land.
- En el servicio de hoy vamos a tomar la colecta anual para apoyar a los cristianos en la Tierra Santa. Nuestra contribución ayudará a los frailes franciscanos y a otras personas en dar vivienda y alimentación a los pobres, proporcionando formación religiosa y educación; en el mantenimiento de los santuarios y parroquias, y en llevar a cabo el ministerio pastoral allí. Esta colecta anual de Viernes Santo ofrece un vínculo directo para ayudar a mantener una presencia Cristiana en la Tierra Santa.
Special Collection: April 2-3
All parishes in the Diocese of Austin are to take up a special collection the weekend of April 2-3 for Seminarians and Priest Education and Formation. The following announcement should be read before all Masses that weekend:
- As the Diocese of Austin rapidly continues to grow, we must ensure that we have an ample number of priests to celebrate the sacraments, preach God’s word and guide us on our journey with Christ. Thus, to ensure our priests are well-prepared, a man in formation pursues an education in philosophy, theology and pastoral care. Seminarian education and formation in the Diocese of Austin can take up to nine years. We believe that financial impediments should never prevent men from responding to God’s call to the priesthood. Most financial support for priests and seminarians is made available from the Catholic Services Appeal and a Seminarian Endowment in the Catholic Foundation, but the needs are far greater than our annual appeal can support. This special collection provides additional support for this very important effort. Please be generous in your support of this most worthy cause.
- Para atender a una población en rápido crecimiento, la Diócesis de Austin debe asegurarse de contar con un amplio número de sacerdotes para celebrar los sacramentos, predicar la palabra de Dios y guiarnos en nuestro viaje con Cristo. Para asegurarnos de que nuestros sacerdotes estén bien preparados, los hombres en formación recibirán una educación de calidad en filosofía, teología y cuidado pastoral. La educación y la formación de seminaristas en la Diócesis de Austin puede tomar hasta nueve años. Creemos que impedimentos financieros no deben interferir para que los hombres respondan al llamado de Dios al sacerdocio. La mayoría de la ayuda financiera para los sacerdotes y seminaristas se hace disponible a través del Llamado Para los Servicios Católicos y la Donación Seminarista de la Fundación Católica, pero las necesidades son mucho más grandes que lo que nuestro Llamado anual puede solventar. Esta colecta especial proporciona apoyo adicional a este esfuerzo tan importante. Por favor, sean generosos en su apoyo a esta causa tan digna.
Consider using the following meditation for the Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday, April 3):
- How does fear prevent you from speaking of God’s mercy to others and forgiving people who offend you? The first evening of the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the frightened disciples who had locked themselves in the upper room. The disciples rejoiced when they recognized the Lord. “Peace be with you … I send you” to forgive. How can you make present God’s love and forgiveness to others?
- ¿Cómo es que su miedo le impide hablar sobre la misericordia de Dios a otros y perdonar a la gente que lo(la) ha ofendido? La primera noche de la Resurrección, Jesús se apareció a los temerosos discípulos que se habían encerrado en el cuarto de arriba. Los discípulos se regocijaron cuando reconocieron al Señor. "La paz esté con ustedes...yo los envío" a perdonar ¿Cómo puede usted hacer presente el amor de Dios y su perdón para otros?
Consider using the following meditation for the Third Sunday of Easter (April 10):
- It is night, the disciples are fishing for their food but catch nothing. With the sunrise, Jesus directs their efforts and they find great success. Some say 153 represents all people, the universalism of Christ’s invitation. The net, the church does not tear with the abundance of diversity. This encounter with Jesus at breakfast strengthens and nourishes the disciples to carry out the mission of proclaiming God’s mercy, which invites all to be united in Christ. Do we allow God to nourish us in the Eucharist and other sacraments? Where is the Risen Lord leading you to speak of his love? Will we share the light of Christ with others?
- Es de noche, los discípulos están pescando para comer pero no atrapan nada. Con el amanecer, Jesús dirige sus esfuerzos y ellos tienen gran éxito. Algunos dicen que el número 153 representa a toda la gente, la universalidad de la invitación de Cristo. La red, la iglesia, no se rompe con la abundancia de la diversidad. Este encuentro con Jesús durante el desayuno fortalece y nutre a los discípulos para llevar a cabo la misión de proclamar la misericordia de Dios, la cual nos invita a todos a unirnos en Cristo ¿Permitimos que Dios nos nutra en la Eucaristía y en otros sacramentos? ¿Hacia dónde está el Dios resucitado guiándole para que hable de su amor? ¿Compartiremos la luz de Cristo con otros?
Stewardship and Development
Basic and advanced training on Church Office will be offered at the diocesan Pastoral Center in Austin on April 26 and July 26. For more information and to register, visit: www.austindiocese.org/pds.
Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center
A Divine Mercy Day of Reflection
A Divine Mercy Day of Reflection will be presented April 3 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. Father Brian Eilers will lead this day by focusing on the life of St. Faustina and the message of Divine Mercy. The cost is $25 with lunch included. For more information or to register, contact Cedarbrake at (254) 780-2436.
Encountering Christ will be offered April 22-24 at Cedarbrake Retreat Center in Belton. Franciscan Father Albert Haase will lead participants in encountering Jesus and the transformation that occurs when we allow ourselves to conform to his will. The cost is $210 for a single room, $170 for a shared room and $95 for commuters. For more information or to register, contact Cedarbrake at (254) 780-2436.
Canonical and Tribunal Services
Marriage Packet Workshop
The Office of Canonical and Tribunal Services will present a workshop on the process of completing the church-required Marriage Packets. This workshop is for those who work/volunteer in the parish preparing couples for marriage and will include information about the required documentation, canon law requirements and diocesan policies affecting the marriage preparation process. The workshop is April 16 from 9 a.m. to noon at the diocesan Pastoral Center in Austin. Register by e-mail to Jorge Nuñez before April 11.
Catholic Charities of Central Texas
Immigration Legal Services
Learn about Immigration Legal Services offered through Catholic Charities of Central Texas. Topics include how the immigration system works, types of relief and eligibility requirements. The events are free and presented in Spanish on March 19 or 26 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Ruiz Library (1600 Grove Blvd. in Austin).
Annulment Support Group
Catholic Charities of Central Texas announces a weekly Annulment Support Group – healing the pain of divorce, strengthening your faith and finding your joy. Each participant will receive support resources such as weekly prayers and inspiration. The group begins March 31 and will meet Thursdays from 5 to 6 p.m. and costs $20 per session. To reserve a spot, contact Sara Lockey at (512) 651-6150.
10th annual Creating Hope Luncheon
Join us for an unforgettable event in which the mission of Catholic Charities of Central Texas will be shared by those whose lives it has touched. Enjoy a complimentary lunch as you see that it only takes one to restore hope in Central Texas. The 10th annual Creating Hope Luncheon is April 14 from noon to 1 p.m. and is free to attend, reserve your seat today. To RSVP contact Kristen Erdem at (512) 651-6132 or visit www.ccctx.org.
Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request
Please consider Bishop Vásquez' prayer request for the Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday, April 3):
- For the members of the Church, that the peace of Christ would strengthen us to go out to the world and courageously proclaim to all the mercy and love of God which overcomes all barriers, we pray…
- Por los miembros de la Iglesia, para que la paz de Cristo nos fortalezca para ir por el mundo proclamando a todos, con valor, la misericordia y el amor de Dios, los cuales sobrepasan todas las barreras, oremos...
Please consider Bishop Vásquez' prayer request for the Third Sunday of Easter (April 10):
- That the members of the Church, nourished at the table of God’s Word and Eucharist, will overflow in love for the Lord, and proclaim that love to others ...
- Por que los miembros de la Iglesia, nutridos a la mesa de la Palabra de Dios y la Eucaristía, nos inundemos del amor por el Señor y proclamemos ese amor a los otros...
Blessings and congratulations to …
The following priests on the anniversary of their ordination during the month of April:
- Rev. Thomas Niemira, April 4, 1965
- Rev. Rayapu Reddy Pothireddy, April 6, 1994
- Very Rev. William Wack, CSC, April 9, 1994
- Very Rev. Matthew Iwuji, April 21, 1974
- Rev. Richard Dee Du, MF, April 22, 1999
- Rev. Anthony Alphonse, April 23, 1992
- Rev. Msgr. William Brooks, April 24, 1976
- Rev. Kenneth Nielson, April 24, 1999
- Rev. Msgr. Don Sawyer, April 27, 1974
- Rev. Ramon Frayna, April 29, 1986
- Rev. Paul Ybarra, CSC, April 30, 2011
Amazing Parish Conference
The Amazing Parish Conference provides pastors and their leadership teams with an extraordinary opportunity to learn new techniques and strategies in the areas of leadership, evangelization and discipleship. The conferences feature national keynote speakers, amazing prayer experiences, and the opportunity to meet committed parish leaders from around the country. The next Amazing Parish Conference will be held in Detroit April 18-20. Open enrollment is now being offered to all dioceses (in the U.S. and Canada). Registration is limited to parishes that have not yet attended an Amazing Parish Conference. Spots for this conference are filling up fast so register soon.
Texas Catholic Conference searches for new executive director
The Texas Catholic Conference is currently seeking applicants for the position of Executive Director. For more information, please visit www.austindiocese.org/tccexecdir.
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.