The Friday E-Pistle (Dec. 2, 2016)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official Appointments

College of Consultors

The following priests have been appointed to serve as the College of Consultors for the next five years: 

  • Most Rev. Daniel E. Garcia
  • Rev. Melvin Dornak
  • Very Rev. George Joseph
  • Very Rev. Daniel Liu
  • Very Rev. Juan Carlos Lopez
  • Rev. Victor Mayorga
  • Msgr. John McCaffrey
  • Rev. James Misko
  • Msgr. Louis Pavlicek


  • Deacon Pedro (Pete) Barrera, III, has been assigned to St. Joseph Parish in Manor, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Michael Georg Beauvais has been assigned to St. Anthony Parish in Bryan, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Michael DeWayne Glenn has been assigned to St. John Neumann Parish in Austin, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Roberto Gutierrez has been assigned to St. John the Evangelist Parish in San Marcos, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Brian James Hill has been assigned to St. Margaret Mary Parish in Cedar Park, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Gordon Kenneth Lee has been assigned to St. Mary Parish in Mexia, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Javier Maldonado has been assigned to St. Louis Parish in Austin, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Patrick Thomas O’Beirne has been assigned to St. Thomas More Parish in Austin, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Mark Nicholas Olivieri has been assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in College Station, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Alfred Mojica Ponce has been assigned to St. Paul Chong Hasang Parish in Harker Heights, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon José Gomez Ramos, Sr., has been assigned to St. Joseph Parish in Killeen, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Thomas Gregory Sudderth has been assigned to St. Mary Parish in Wimberley, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Thomas Suniga has been assigned to St. Thomas More Parish in Austin, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Geoffrey Robert Unger has been assigned to St. Martin de Porres Parish in Dripping Springs, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Ernesto Valenzuela, Sr., has been assigned to St. Mary Parish in Caldwell, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Robert Willem van Til has been assigned to St. Patrick Parish in Hutto, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Rodolfo Leandro Villarreal, III, has been assigned to St. John Vianney Parish in Round Rock, effective Nov. 19, 2016.
  • Deacon Paul Cooke has been assigned to Ascension Parish in Bastrop effective Dec. 20, 2016.
  • Deacon Channing Fell has been assigned to St. Mary Parish in West effective Jan. 1, 2017.
  • Deacon Joe Flores has been granted retirement status, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Advent Penance Services

A list of Advent Penance Services, organized by deanery, is available on the diocesan website.

Holy day of obligation

The feast of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8, is a holy day of obligation.

Office closings

In observance of the feast of the Immaculate Conception all diocesan offices will be closed on Thursday, Dec. 8. Offices will reopen on Dec. 9.

Pastoral Plan update

  • The first edition of the Pastoral Plan e-newsletter was sent to all parishes in the December Monthly Mailing. The newsletter features direct links of ideas to implement the Pastoral Plan. 
  • The Pastoral Plan site, is continually updated with ideas and links to implement each objective in the plan. This week the section entitled "Engage" has a number of new items with more to come.
  • If you are doing something at your parish and would like to feature it on the Pastoral Plan website, please send the information to Charlene O’Conne​ll.

Diocesan Guadalupe celebration goes on; Procession canceled

Due to the forecast of heavy rain for Saturday, Dec. 3, the procession that was to precede the diocesan celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been canceled. The celebration will begin at 9 a.m. at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Cedar Park at 1101 W. New Hope Dr. We will gather to pray the rosary and serenade the Blessed Mother. At 11 a.m. we will celebrate Mass with Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Garcia. Everyone is invited to the Mass and social gathering afterward.


Reflection question

Gospel meditation

Consider using the following meditation for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Dec. 18):

  • What do you think of when you hear that Joseph was righteous? A righteous person is not only a person who follows the law but, most importantly, a righteous person is one who strives for holiness while maintaining an active relationship with God. Today, we focus on the coming birth of Jesus, and the important salvific titles of Son of David, God with us (Emmanuel), and God saves (Jesus) that remind us that God is present and acting. However, let’s return to righteous Joseph. It is because Joseph is close to God that he heard and followed God’s word delivered through the angel. Are we growing in our relationship with God? Do we listen to and follow God’s Word in our daily lives? God is with us. Are we with God?
  • ¿En qué piensa usted cuando escucha que José era justo? Una persona justa no es únicamente una persona que sigue la ley pero, aún de manera más importante, una persona justa es una que se esfuerza por alcanzar la santidad mientras mantiene una relación activa con Dios. Hoy nos enfocamos en el próximo nacimiento de Jesús, y en los importantes y salvíficos títulos de Hijo de David, Dios con nosotros (Emanuel) y Dios salva (Jesús) que nos recuerdan que Dios está presente y activo. Sin embargo, volvamos a José el justo. Es debido a que José era cercano a Dios que escuchó y siguió su Palabra la cual le fue entregada a través del Ángel ¿estamos nosotros creciendo en nuestra relación con Dios? ¿Escuchamos y seguimos la Palabra de Dios en nuestra vida diaria? Dios está con nosotros ¿Estamos nosotros con Dios?


Stewardship and Development

Catholic Services Appeal

  • Thank you for your continued support and generosity to the Catholic Services Appeal. To date, we have received pledges from more than 8,300 families totaling more than $2.26 million. Parishioners are encouraged to generously support the CSA.
  • The second CSA mailing will be sent on Dec. 6. The data file for this mailing was run on Nov. 23, so if you have made a pledge in the meantime, please disregard this second letter.
  • The first parish status report is available to view on the CSA website.

Stock gifts

As a reminder, if parishioners want to make donations through stock gifts, they may contact Lisa Rosenberger at (512) 949-2450.


Thank you for your support of #iGiveCatholic. Our participating parishes, schools and Catholic organizations greatly benefited from the electronic gifts of our Catholic community. Please see the Diocese of Austin Facebook page for results or visit to see how your parish or school did on Giving Tuesday.

Assembly of Catholic Professionals

The Assembly of Catholic Professionals provides a unique formational opportunity for Catholic lay professionals to grow in faith. The next luncheon, sponsored by the St. John Paul II Life Center, is Dec. 14 and begins with networking at 11:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Town Lake. The featured speaker will be Caroline Boudreaux, founder of Miracle Foundation. To register, visit and click on the RSVP/Purchase Admission link.


Vocation Office

Discernment dinner for young men in high school

High school men are invited to a Discernment Dinner on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Religious Education Building of St. William Parish, 620 Round Rock West Dr. in Round Rock. Any young man of high school age open to discovering God’s will in his life is welcome. The evening includes dinner, prayer, fellowship and conversation about the priesthood, discernment, prayer and virtue. For more information, please contact Father Froy Jerez at or (512) 255-4473.


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

Upcoming retreats

  • The Women of Faith Retreat at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton on Jan. 16 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. will reflect on the gifts of five women whose courageous actions effected the world -- Sojourner Truth, Thea Bowman, Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman. Their fearlessness and faithfulness changed lives because they embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Come and learn about these incredible women; who they were and what they did.  Beverly Collin will facilitate this day.  The cost is $40 and includes lunch. To register or for more information, call (254) 780-2436.
  • El proceso de la reflexión teológica es una actividad que nos permite conectar lo que vivemos y creemos con la palabra de Dios. Esta oportunidad de reflexión en Jan. 28 nos ayudará a entender cómo el proceso de ver, juzgar y actuar puede ser un instrumento para nuestro camino de fe. Vamos a orar juntos y aprender unos de otros en este esfuerzo. Costo del retiro es de $30 e incluye almuerzo. Gustavo  Rodriguez,  director  asociado de la Catequesis para presentar este retiro. Por favor regístrese aquí.


Weekly notes

Pope Francis’ prayer requests

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

  • That the scandal of child soldiers may be eliminated the world over ...
  • Para que en ninguna parte del mundo existan niños soldados...
  • That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life ...
  • Para que los pueblos de Europa redescubran la belleza, la bondad y la verdad del Evangelio que dan alegría y esperanza a la vida...

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Dec. 18):

  • For the Church, that together the clergy and faithful may hear and follow God’s Word in order to accompany others on the way to Christ …
  • Por la Iglesia, para que juntos el clero y los fieles escuchen y sigan la Palabra de Dios para poder acompañar a otros en el camino hacia Cristo...


Ethics and Integrity in Ministry

EIM Workshop

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 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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