The Friday E-Pistle (Dec. 16, 2016)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Offices closed

In observance of Christmas, all diocesan offices will be closed Dec. 23 through Dec. 26. Diocesan offices will reopen on Dec. 27. Diocesan offices will also be closed on Jan. 2.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

  • As we celebrate the birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, we ask the Prince of Peace to end all war, vengeance and suffering, and help us become people of mercy, compassion and healing. Wishing you, your family and loved ones a holy and blessed Christmas and a joy-filled New Year!
  • Mientras celebramos el nacimiento de Nuestro Salvador, Jesucristo, pedimos al Príncipe de la Paz que ponga fin a toda guerra, venganza y sufrimiento, y nos ayude a convertirnos en personas de misericordia, compasión y sanación. ¡Les deseamos a usted, a su familia y a sus seres amados, una Navidad santa y bendecida y un Año Nuevo lleno de gozo!

Prayers requested

  • Please pray for Franciscan Friar Third Order Regular Father Lawrence Soler who died at age 89 on Dec. 8, 2016, in Mallorca, Spain. He was born on Aug. 5, 1927 and was ordained on June 2, 1955. A funeral Mass was celebrated on Dec. 9 in Spain. A memorial Mass was celebrated on Thursday in Waco.
  • Please pray for Missionary Catechists of Divine Providence Sister Mary Lou Barba who died Dec. 13, 2016. Sr. Mary Lou served in this diocese for many years in several capacities most recently as the diocesan Director for the Religious, while also serving at Emmaus Parish in Austin. Funeral arrangements are pending.
  • Please pray for Holy Cross Brother Romard Barthel who died Dec. 7, 2016. He was born on April 8, 1924 and professed his final vows on Aug. 16, 1947. He taught mathematics and physics at St. Edward’s University for many years, retiring in 2005. The funeral Mass was celebrated on Dec. 12.


Reflection question

Gospel meditation

Consider using the following meditation for the feast of Mary, the Mother of God (Jan. 1):

  • By believing and obeying, Mary gave birth to the Son of God, and so we call her Mother of God. By responding to the grace of baptism and by our own belief and obedience, Christ is truly present in and through us. This is a great mystery upon which we should constantly reflect. May we constantly look to Mary as a model of discipleship. In this new Year of Grace, “The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!
  • Al creer y obedecer, María dio a luz al Hijo de Dios, y es así que podemos llamarla Madre de Dios. Al responder a la gracia del bautismo y por nuestra propia creencia y obediencia, Cristo está verdaderamente presente en nosotros y a través de nosotros. Este es un gran misterio sobre el cual debemos reflexionar continuamente. Miremos a María constantemente como un modelo de discipulado. En este nuevo Año de Gracia, "¡Que el Señor le bendiga y le conserve! ¡Que el SEÑOR deje brillar su luz sobre usted! ¡Que el SEÑOR amablemente lo conserve y le de paz!"

Young Adult Ministry

Ascend: An Emerging Leaders Program

The Diocese of Austin is accepting applications for the Ascend class of 2017. Approximately 30 young adults will be selected to participate in a series of retreats and evening courses between February and April. The Ascend class of 2017 will be empowered to make a lasting contribution by practicing applied leadership skills to exercise their faith in positions of leadership in the church as well as in their homes, communities and careers. Applications are due Feb. 10 at 5 p.m. For complete information about Ascend, including the program calendar, application and FAQs, visit


Youth Ministry

Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference

The Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference (DCYC) will take place at the Waco Convention Center Jan. 27-29. At DCYC, participants will experience keynote speakers Father Leo Patalinghug, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, Manny Barraza and Jason Deuterman. They will also participate in sacraments, music, prayer, workshops, entertainment and more, all woven together under this year's theme of "Sanctus." Registration is open and participants may register or find out more information through their parish youth minister. Don't miss out on this annual opportunity for teens to encounter Christ in a fun, unique way.


Canonical and Tribunal Office

Advocate training

The diocesan Office of Canonical and Tribunal Services will host an Advocacy Training workshop Jan. 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the diocesan Pastoral Center in Austin. This workshop will include a review of the process of petitioning for an annulment, applicable Canon Law, processes and procedures, petitions and grounds, resources, questions and answers. Advocates who have not attended a training in the last few years are encouraged to attend this workshop to learn about the changes brought about by the Motu Proprio Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus. Lay persons who wish to become an advocate must be delegated by their pastor. To register and for more information, visit

Marriage packet workshop

The diocesan Office of Canonical and Tribunal Services will host a Marriage Packet workshop Feb. 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the diocesan Pastoral Center in Austin. This workshop will include the required documentation, Canon Law requirements and diocesan policies affecting the marriage preparation process. This workshop is intended for priests, deacons and parish staff that assist couples with their marriage preparation documents. To register and for more information, visit

Annulment: Pathway to Healing

The diocesan Office of Canonical and Tribunal Services will host "Annulment: Pathway to Healing" April 28-29 at the diocesan Pastoral Center in Austin. The purpose of this seminar is to help participants 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. The seminar is a time for reflecting on the demise of one's marriage by taking a journey from pain and loneliness to acceptance and healing. The seminar begins on April 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. and continues on April 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact Pat Thompson at (512) 949-2478. To register, visit


Stewardship and Development

Catholic Services Appeal update

Thank you for your continued support and generosity to the Catholic Services Appeal. To date, we have received pledges from more than 13,900 families totaling more than $3.6 million. Parishioners are encouraged to generously support the CSA.

An updated parish goal report is now available.


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request for the feast of Mary, the Mother of God (Jan. 1):

  • That by believing and obeying God’s Word, may we cooperate with God’s constant grace to grow in holiness through ongoing conversion, we pray…
  • Que al creer y obedecer la palabra de Dios, cooperemos con la gracia constante de Dios para crecer en santidad a través de una conversión continua, oremos...

Blessings and congratulations to …

The following priests on the anniversary of their ordination during the month of January:

  • Rev. Dominic Perunilam, Jan. 1, 1985
  • Rev. Charles Johnson, Jan. 1, 1994
  • Rev. Joseph Nisari, Jan. 6, 1968
  • Very Rev. George Joseph, Jan. 9, 1999
  • Very Rev. Bud Roland, Jan. 9, 1999
  • Rev. Jairo Sandoval Pliego, Jan. 12, 2008
  • Rev. Everardo Cazares, Jan. 16, 2016
  • Rev. Juan Barragan Mendoza, TOR, Jan. 18, 2015
  • Rev. Jim Olnhausen, Jan. 24, 1970
  • Rev. Vincent Nguyen, Jan. 25, 1997
  • Rev. Ricardo Mejia Montiel, TOR, Jan. 28, 2015


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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