The Friday E-Pistle (Dec. 9, 2016)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Offices closed

Diocesan offices will be closed on Dec. 16 for the diocesan staff to attend an Advent Day of Prayer. Diocesan offices will reopen on Dec. 19.

Special collection: Dec. 31-Jan. 1

On the weekend of Dec. 31, 2016 and Jan. 1, 2017 all parishes in the Diocese of Austin are to take up a special collection for the feast of the Holy Family. The following announcement should be read before all Masses:

  • A special collection will be taken up in this Mass to support family and pro-life activities in the Diocese of Austin. These include: Annunciation Maternity Home in Georgetown, Our Lady of the Angels Maternity Shelter in Temple and the diocesan Office of Pro-life Activities. Please be generous in your support of this most worthy cause.
  • Una colecta especial será recogida en esta Misa para apoyar las actividades pro-vida en la Diócesis de Austin: Estas incluyen: La Annunciation Maternity Home en Georgetown, el albergue de maternidad Our Lady of the Angels en Temple y la Oficina de Actividades Pro-vida diocesana. Por favor sea generoso en su apoyo a esta valiosa causa.


Reflection question

Gospel meditation

Consider using the following meditation for Christmas (Dec. 25):

  • The Church provides four sets of prayers and readings for Christmas. The Mass During the Night and the Mass at Dawn feature shepherds receiving God’s message from angels and then proclaiming it to Mary and Joseph and all others present. This may not seem overly remarkable except perhaps for the appearance of angels. However, we should take note of God’s choice to announce the birth of our Savior to shepherds who were on the margins of society. They were not thought of as reputable, trustworthy, or upstanding members of the community. Yet the Gospel states that all were amazed at God’s message of a Savior announced by the shepherds. Who do we disregard because they often do not measure up to our standards? Are our standards more demanding than God’s? Remember the Eternal Word chose to take on human flesh, to be born in a stable and sleep in a feeding trough. The Bread of Life born in the “House of Bread” (Bethlehem). Will we truly receive God’s message of Good News and proclaim it to all we meet?
  • La Iglesia provee de cuatro series de oraciones y lecturas para la Navidad. La Misa Durante la Noche y la Misa al Amanecer presentan a los pastores recibiendo el mensaje de Dios por medio de los ángeles y luego proclamándolo a María y José y a todos los presentes. Puede ser que esto no parezca destacable, excepto, tal vez, por la aparición de los ángeles. Sin embargo, debemos de notar la elección de Dios de anunciar el nacimiento de nuestro Salvador a los pastores, quienes estaban al margen de la sociedad. Ellos no eran vistos como personas de buena reputación, dignas de confianza o personas destacadas en la comunidad. Aún así, el Evangelio indica que todos estuvieron sorprendidos por el mensaje de Dios de un Salvador, anunciado por los pastores ¿A quién no tomamos en cuenta por que no está a la altura de nuestros estándares? ¿Son nuestros estándares más demandantes que los de Dios? Recuerde que la Palabra Eterna escogió tomar la forma de carne humana, nacer en un establo y dormir en un pesebre. El Pan de la Vida que nació en la "Casa de Pan" (Belén) ¿Recibiremos verdaderamente el mensaje de Dios y la Buena Nueva y la proclamaremos a todos con quienes nos encontramos?


Worship Office

Southwest Liturgical Conference Study Week

The early registration deadline has been extended to Dec. 16 for the 55th annual Southwest Liturgical Conference’s Study Week in El Paso. The conference runs Jan. 18-21. Click here to register.


Catholic Charities of Central Texas

Know your Rights

Catholic Charities of Central Texas, along with the Texas Here to Stay coalition, is co-hosting Know Your Rights clinics and immigration consultations on the following dates:

  • Dec. 10, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Southeast Health and Wellness Center, 2901 Montopolis Dr., Austin, 78741
  • Dec. 17, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., El Buen Samaritano, 7000 Woodhue Dr., Austin, 78745

Know Your Rights is a free clinic with presentations and immigration consultations for any individual seeking immigration information and legal services. Volunteers and attorneys will conduct intakes in order to match potential clients with an appropriate organization for a consultation. For more information e-mail Texas Here to Stay.


Vocation Office

Heart of Jesus retreat

There is still time to register for the Heart of Jesus: Men’s Discernment Retreat. Catholic men (18-45) with an openness to a priestly vocation and at varying stages of discernment are invited to attend the retreat from Dec. 16-18 at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. The weekend will include silence, prayer, meals and themed topics designed to encounter the Heart of Jesus. For more information or to register, go to or contact Father Jonathan Raia at (512) 949-2430.

Borromeo House Discernment Dinner

Join other single, Catholic men ages 18 and older with an openness to discovering God’s will in their life for an evening that includes dinner, prayer, fellowship, and conversation about the priesthood, discernment, prayer and virtue. The next meeting is Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. at the St. Charles Borromeo House of Discernment, 905B Duncan Lane in Austin. For more information, go to


Stewardship and Development

Catholic Services Appeal updates

  • Thank you for your continued support and generosity to the Catholic Services Appeal. To date, we have received pledges from more than 11,400 families totaling more than $3.1 million. Parishioners are encouraged to generously support the CSA.
  • Our second CSA mailing was sent out 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.


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

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request for Christmas (Dec. 25):

  • That by the grace of our Lord’s birth, all the baptized will turn entirely to God, becoming bold apostles who make present the Good News of God’s justice and peace by our loving care of our family, our friends, the poor, the outcast, the marginalized, the immigrant and the stranger …
  • Que por la gracia del nacimiento de nuestro Señor, todos los bautizados volteen por completo hacia Dios, convirtiéndose en claros apóstoles que hacen presente la Buena Nueva de Dios de justicia y paz a través del cuidado cariñoso de su familia, amigos, los pobres y los marginados, los inmigrantes y los extranjeros...


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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