The Friday E-Pistle (Feb. 10, 2017)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Letter on immigration

Last weekend, Feb. 4-5, I directed all parishes to read the following letter before all Masses. The full text of the letter is available here:

Rite of Election deadline

The Worship Office reminds all parishes that the deadline for submitting Rite of Election registrations (RCIA catechumens and candidates), is Feb. 13. For information on Rite of Election dates, times, and access to electronic registration forms, please visit or contact the Worship Office at

Canonical and Tribunal Services

The Office of Canonical and Tribunal Services now has all services available in Spanish. A person may now pursue the annulment process entirely in the Spanish language without the need to translate testimony, documents or decisions. This new service will provide for more efficient processing of cases and affirm our commitment to the Spanish-speaking faithful.

Koch Foundation

The Diocese of Austin is limited to the number of applications that can be submitted to the Koch Foundation, which includes all parishes, Catholic schools and universities. Applicants that received a letter stating they were not eligible are not allowed to apply for three years. If your parish, Catholic school or university is interested in applying for a grant from the foundation, please submit a brief description of the project, cost, location and contact information of the organization applying to Margaret Kappel by Feb. 27. Eligible organizations will be notified whether they can submit an official Letter of Request.

Special collection: March 1

All parishes in the Diocese of Austin are to take up a special collection on Ash Wednesday for world and home missions. The following announcement should be read before all services on Ash Wednesday:

  • Each Ash Wednesday every parish in our diocese takes up a special collection for world and home missions. The Catholic Church in the U.S. has a strong history of supporting worthy causes in our own parish communities and beyond. This combined collection will benefit areas in the Church that are greatest in need, including Black and Indian Missions in the U.S. Additionally, there are many places beyond our borders where the Church is poor, communities are scattered, and priests are few. This special appeal helps Catholic communities in Latin America, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe, by underwriting evangelization, religious education, education for future priests, and training for lay ministers. Thank you for your support.
  • Cada Miércoles de Ceniza todas las parroquias de nuestra diócesis realizan una colecta especial para las misiones mundiales y domésticas. La Iglesia Católica en los Estados Unidos tiene una larga historia de apoyo a causas nobles en nuestras comunidades parroquiales y más allá. Esta colecta combinada beneficiará a zonas de la Iglesia con la mayor necesidad, incluyendo las misiones negra e india en los EE.UU. Además, hay muchos lugares más allá de nuestras fronteras en donde la Iglesia es pobre, las comunidades están dispersas, y los sacerdotes son pocos. Este llamado especial ayuda a comunidades católicas de América Latina, África y Europa Central y del Este, apoyando la evangelización, la educación religiosa, la educación para los futuros sacerdotes, y la formación de ministros laicos. Gracias por su apoyo.


Reflection question

Gospel meditation

Consider using the following meditation for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Feb. 26):

  • Take a moment and consider this question, “What is your goal in life?” Perhaps we need to make a list. Our true goal or priority may be identified by where we commit time, money and resources. Today, Jesus challenges us to orient everything we do toward enhancing our relationship with God. Jesus tells us that we cannot serve God and material goods. Just as a servant cannot serve their master and their master’s enemy. God does not ask us to be irresponsible but to use our talents and time wisely in order to glorify God.
  • Tómese un momento y considere esta pregunta, "¿Cuál es su meta en la vida?" Tal vez necesitemos hacer una lista. Nuestra verdadera meta o prioridad puede ser identificada al observar dónde comprometemos nuestro tiempo, dinero y recursos. Hoy, Jesús nos reta a orientarlo todo hacia el mejoramiento de nuestra relación con Dios. Jesús nos dice que no podemos servir a Dios y a los bienes materiales. Tal como los siervos no pueden servir a su maestro y al enemigo de su maestro. Dios no nos pide ser irresponsables sino usar nuestros talentos y tiempo de manera sabia para glorificar a Dios.


V Encuentro

Parish trainings

Trainings for V Encuentro parish teams will be held Feb. 18 at Sacred Heart Parish in Waco and March 4 at St. Anthony Marie de Claret Parish in Kyle. Parish team members are appointed by the pastor of each parish, so those interested are encouraged to talk with their pastor about becoming a part of the parish Encuentro team. All parish teams are invited to participate in one of the parish training sessions, which will be held in English and Spanish from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost of each session is $20 per person, which includes lunch and materials. To register your parish team members for a session, call (512) 949-2426.


Stewardship and Development

Catholic Services Appeal update

Thank you for your continued support and generosity to the Catholic Services Appeal. We reached our goal of $5.5 million, and hope to achieve our challenge goal of $6 million. To date, 68 parishes have reached their goal, and 39 parishes have reached their challenge goal. Thus far, the top five parishes with the largest increase in the number of gifts year over year are St. Thomas More in Austin; Santa Rosa in Andice; St. Joseph in Killeen; Holy Vietnamese Martyrs in Austin; and St. Margaret Mary in Cedar Park. Current parish goal reports are available online.


Canonical and Tribunal Office

Marriage preparation 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. For more information, contact Gloria Villarreal at (512) 949-2482. Click here to register.


Finance Office

Special Collection money due

Please send funds from the Retired Clergy and Religious special collection taken up Dec. 10-11 to the diocesan Finance Office as soon as possible. Send checks to Finance Office, Diocese of Austin, 6225 Hwy. 290 East, Austin 78723.


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request for the Eighth Sunday Ordinary in Time (Feb. 26):

  • That by seeking God’s kingdom in all we do, at school, work, play, or in the market place, we may glorify God through our attention to others rather than ourselves, we pray …
  • Que, al buscar el Reino de Dios en todo lo que hacemos, en la escuela, trabajo en el esparcimiento o en el mercado, glorifiquemos a Dios a través del poner nuestra atención en los demás más que en nosotros mismos, oremos...


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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