The Friday E-Pistle (April 1, 2016)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointment

Rev. Ryan Higdon, parochial vicar at St. Mary Catholic Center in College Station, to a three-year term as associate member of the Vocation Team, effective May 1, 2016.

Pastoral Plan update

On April 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. Thomas More Parish in Austin, bring your Pastoral Council members and ministry leaders to Bishop Joe Vásquez' presentation on the Pastoral Plan. The presentation will be in English and will be held in the Parish Activity Center. This is an excellent opportunity to 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. 
  • Distribute the plan to Pastoral Council members and ministry leaders
  • Celebrate how the vision of the plan is already present in your parish community
  • 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
  • Pray for the fruitful implementation of the plan throughout the diocese.

Special Collection: April 2-3

All parishes in the Diocese of Austin are to take up a special collection this weekend for Seminarians and Priest Education and Formation. The following announcement should be read before all Masses this 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.


Reflection question

Gospel meditation

Consider using the following meditation for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (April 17):

  • Likening us to sheep, Jesus says we belong to Him and his Father and He gives us the promise of eternal life. In this Year of Mercy, share this promise of eternal life with someone who needs to hear it.
  • Comparándonos a ovejas, Jesús dice que le pertenecemos a Él y a su Padre y nos hace la promesa de la vida eterna. En este Año de la Misericordia, comparta esta promesa de la vida eterna con alguien que necesita escucharla.


Young Adult Ministry

Theology on Tap

At this special Theology on Tap panel discussion, representatives from the diocesan Office of Life, Charity and Justice will address their work and ways to show mercy in mission, to those in the justice system and being charitable to those in need. DeKarlos Blackmon, director of the Secretariat of Life, Charity, and Justice Office; Christina Kreuger, missions coordinator; and John Gilluly, associate director of Criminal Justice Ministry, will present April 4 at Casa Chapala (9041 Research Blvd. Suite 100 Austin, TX 78758 ). The gathering begins with fellowship at 6 p.m. and the panel begins at 7 p.m. Contact Jennifer Kodysz or visit here, for more information.


Stewardship and Development

Ideas to Impact Conference

The 2016 Ideas to Impact Conference will be held May 30 to June 3 in Baltimore. The conference features more than 200 classes for using ACS Technologies such as Parish Data Systems. This is a software training and ministry implementation conference. For more information, visit


Vocations Office

Heart of Mary retreat

All women, ages 18-45, are invited to encounter the beauty of a vocation and the possibility of this call in their own lives, April 8-10 at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. The retreat will be led by the Consecrated Sisters of the Apostles of the Interior Life (AVI). There will be talks and time for prayer as well as “one-on-one” conversations with the sisters while experiencing community life with other young women discerning the will of God. For more information, contact the Vocation Office at (512) 949-2430. The cost is $35. Register online by March 31 at


Weekly notes

Pope Francis’ prayer requests

Please consider Pope Francis' prayer requests for the month of April:

  • That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious labor …
  • Que los pequeños agricultores reciban una remuneración justa por su precioso trabajo...
  • That Christians in Africa may give witness to love and faith in Jesus Christ amid political-religious conflicts …
  • Que los cristianos en África, en medio de conflictos políticos y religiosos, sepan dar testimonio de su amor y fe en Jesucristo...

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (April 17):

  • That we may have the courage to respond to God’s call when we hear it …
  • Que tengamos el valor para responder al llamado de Dios cuando lo escuchemos...


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.

Department Categorization: