The Friday E-Pistle (Jan. 20, 2017)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointment

  • Deacon Tom Johnson has been granted retirement status, effective Feb. 1, 2017.

Pastoral Plan Implementation

The Pastoral Plan was officially promulgated in October 2014. The implementation process is to occur at the diocesan and parish levels. The Core Team has met regularly with the diocesan staff to implement the plan's objectives and the team is available to offer assistance and consultation for parish implementation. One of the primary tools in assisting parishes is the Pastoral Plan microsite, which is updated regularly, often from ideas shared by pastors and parish leaders. There are also articles featured in the Catholic Spirit that share stories about how parishes are implementing the plan. Archives of these articles are always available on the plan's site. This week a new feature was added to the site in an effort to reach out to individual Catholics. Check out Faith in Action to see what can be done personally to implement the Pastoral Plan in your parish.

World Day for Consecrated Life

The consecrated religious orders and communities of women and men serving in the Diocese of Austin will celebrate World Day for Consecrated Life on Feb. 4 at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin. The event begins with Mass at 10 a.m., followed by a luncheon in Bishop’s Hall. Jubilarians will be honored. Members of religious communities who have not already responded to the initial invitation, please respond by Jan. 26 to Janice Ingram or call (512) 949-2401. If you are celebrating a jubilee year in 2017, please let us know.

Special Collection: Feb. 11-12

On the weekend of Feb. 11-12 all parishes in the Diocese of Austin are to take up a special collection for Catholic Higher Education. The following announcement should be read before all Masses:

  • A special collection will be taken up in this Mass to support Campus Ministries in the Diocese of Austin. These include communities at the University of Texas, Texas A&M University, Baylor University, Texas State University, Mary Hardin-Baylor, St. Edward’s University and other smaller college campuses. The goals of Catholic campus ministry are to build a faith community, bring the message of Christ to the academic world and prepare future leaders of society and our Church. Please be generous in your support of this most worthy cause.
  • Una colecta especial será realizada durante esta Misa para apoyar Ministerios Universitarios en la Diócesis de Austin. Estos incluyen comunidades en la Universidad de Texas, Texas A&M, la Universidad de Baylor, Texas State University, Mary Hardin-Baylor, St. Edward’s University y otros pequeños campus universitarios. Las metas del ministerio universitario Católico, son construir una comunidad de fe, llevar el mensaje de Cristo al mundo académico y preparar a futuros líderes de la sociedad y de nuestra Iglesia. Por favor sean generosos al apoyar esta valiosa causa.


Reflection question

Gospel meditation

Consider using the following meditation for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Feb. 5):

  • In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls each one of us to be a light for the world and salt for the earth. How are you living up to Jesus' request? How can you strive to fulfill his request?
  • En el Evangelio de hoy, Jesús nos llama a cada uno personalmente a ser una luz para el mundo y sal para la Tierra ¿Cómo está usted viviendo de acuerdo a esta petición de Jesús? ¿Cómo puede usted esforzarse para cumplir con su petición?


Black Catholics

Courageous Conversation on Racism

The next Courageous Conversation on Racism will be Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Holy Cross Parish in Austin. Austin Mayor Steve Adler and members of his staff have been invited to discuss the newly formed City of Austin Equity Office and also the Task Force on Institutional Racism. All are invited to attend.


Family Life

Introduction to Theology of the Body

A four-session course on Theology of the Body for Beginners will be offered on Feb. 9, 16, 23 and March 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the St. John Paul II Life Center in Austin. This introduction to Theology of the Body is designed for any adults who have never had Theology of the Body or who want to explore more on this subject. Participants will learn what Theology of the Body is and its basic concepts on human love and sexuality. The cost for all four sessions is $40 per person (which includes a textbook and materials). For more information, call (512) 949-2470.


Vocation Office

Project Miriam

Project Miriam will be Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin. Single, Catholic women between the ages of 16 and 45 are invited to learn more about Mary’s joyful “yes” to God and how that is lived out in religious life. The day will include prayer, testimonials by religious sisters, Mass and lunch. Please register for this free event at For more information, contact the diocesan Vocation Office at (512) 949-2430.


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

Upcoming retreat

The Ash Wednesday Day of Reflection at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton on March 1 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. is a time for growth in our spiritual life. We invite you to take advantage of the opportunity to deepen your experience of Christ. Brian Egan and Beverly Collin will facilitate this day. The cost is $40 and includes lunch.


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 18,800 families totaling more than $5.26 million. Parishioners are encouraged to generously support the CSA. Current parish goal reports are available on the diocesan website.
  • The third CSA mailing will be sent to those donors who have not renewed their pledge on Jan. 15. The calling program will begin on Feb. 20.
  • Tax letters for 2016 donations will be mailed by Jan. 31 to those donors who have contributed $250 or more.


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


Catholic Charities of Central Texas

Texas Here to Stay

Catholic Charities of Central Texas, along with the Texas Here to Stay coalition, is co-hosting Know Your Rights clinics which offer free 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. Immigration clinics are scheduled for the following dates:

  • Jan. 29, 3 to 6 p.m., San José Catholic Church in Austin
  • Feb. 12, 2 to 5 p.m., St. Helen Catholic Church in Georgetown


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request for the Fifth Sunday Ordinary Time (Feb. 5):

  • May our lives reflect the Light of Christ in all that we do and say in this world ...
  • Que nuestras vidas reflejen la Luz de Cristo en todo lo que hacemos y decimos en este mundo...

Blessings and congratulations to …

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

  • Rev. Pedro Garcia-Ramirez, Feb. 1, 1992
  • Rev. Joseph Frazer, Feb. 25, 1984


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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