The Friday E-Pistle (Feb. 8, 2013)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointment

Missionary Catechist of Divine Providence Sister Mary Lou Barba as the Director of the diocesan Office for Religious, effective Feb. 4, 2013. Sister Mary Lou will also continue in her responsibilities as Director of Religious Education at Emmaus Parish in Lakeway.

Ecumenical statement on immigration

Last week the Diocese of Austin served as host for the annual meeting of Christian Churches Together, a national ecumenical group of church leaders. This meeting was significant for two reasons. The first was the signing of a “Statement of Intent” regarding baptism between the Catholic Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Reformed Church in America and the United Church of Christ. The second was the adoption of a statement calling for fundamental immigration reform.

Year of Faith

Each year the Holy Father releases his message for us as we prepare to celebrate the season of Lent. This year, the pope’s message is written and proclaimed in the context of the Year of Faith. Entitled, “Believing in Charity Calls Forth Charity,” it challenges us to examine the close relationship between faith in the God of love and charity towards our sisters and brothers. If we believe that God loves us, we respond to that love by first accepting his wonderful gift and then by extending that gift to others. During the season of Lent, the Holy Spirit is prompting us to reflect on how we are open to accepting God’s gift of love and then identifying where we are on our faith journey in developing a close relationship with God and his Son, Jesus Christ. However, faith in God and charity towards our neighbor cannot be separated. The Holy Father reminds us that, “Lent invites us, through the traditional practices of the Christian life, to nourish our faith by careful and extended listening to the word of God and by receiving the sacraments, and at the same time to grow in charity and in love for God and neighbor, not least through the specific practices of fasting, penance and almsgiving.”

Reflection question

Gospel meditation

Please consider using the following question for the First Sunday of Lent (Feb. 17):

• We hear in the Gospel of Luke that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert for 40 days. Jesus’ trust in his Father sustains him as he is “tempted by the devil.” As Lent begins, in what ways do you need the strength of Jesus’ Spirit to sustain you in your faith journey?
• Escuchamos en el Evangelio de Lucas que Jesús fue dirigido por el Espíritu al desierto por 40 días. Jesús confianza que su Padre lo sostiene al ser "tentado por el diablo". Al comenzar la Cuaresma, ¿de qué manera necesita que la fortaleza del Espíritu de Jesús le sostenga en su camino de fe?

Communications Office

Monthly Mailing

The February 2013 Monthly Mailing has been posted on the diocesan website.

Vocation Office

Borromeo House Men's Discernment Dinner on Ash Wednesday

A meatless Discernment Dinner for single, Catholic men (ages 18 and older) with an openness to discerning a priestly vocation will be held Wednesday, Feb. 13 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at the Borromeo House in Austin. The evening includes an informal dinner, prayer, and a presentation with discussion on a Lenten topic for discernment. For more information, contact Father Brian McMaster at (512) 949-2430 or e-mail him at the address linked below.

Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

Institute for Spiritual Direction

The Institute for Spiritual Direction will host an open house on March 9 at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and again on March 16 from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Pastoral Center in Austin. The training for this ministry begins in September 2013. This is an opportunity to learn more and to explore the possibility of becoming a spiritual director. For more information, contact Beverly Collin at (254) 780-2436 or e-mail her at the address linked below.

Upcoming retreat

An Ash Wednesday Day of Reflection will be presented Feb. 13 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. For more information or to register, contact Cedarbrake at (254) 780-2436 or e-mail the address linked below.

Finance Office

Special collection money due

Please send funds collected for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development Special Collection taken up Nov. 17-18 to the diocesan Finance Office as soon as possible. Send checks to Finance Office, Diocese of Austin, 6225 Highway 290 East, Austin, TX 78723.

Catholic Charities of Central Texas

Connect with Catholic Alumni

Catholic Charities of Central Texas is hosting a Catholic Alumni Networking Reception Feb. 21 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Austin. Alumni from Catholic colleges, universities and Catholic campus ministries are invited to gather for professional and social networking. This event is open to Catholic alumni regardless of graduation year. For more information, visit the website linked below.

Weekly notes

Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer intentions

Please consider Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer intentions for the month of February:

• That migrant families, especially the mothers, may be supported and accompanied in their difficulties …
• Que las familias migrantes, especialmente las madres, sean apoyadas y acompañadas en sus dificultades...

• That the peoples at war and in conflict may lead the way in building a peaceful future …
• Que los pueblos en guerra y en conflicto dirijan el camino en la edificación de un futuro de paz...

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vasquez’ prayer intention for the First Sunday of Lent (Feb. 17):

• For God's strength to overcome temptation, especially during this Lenten season …
• Por la fortaleza de Dios para vencer la tentación, sobre todo en este tiempo de Cuaresma...

Ethics and Integrity in Ministry (EIM)

Upcoming EIM Basic and Refresher Workshops

EIM Basic and Refresher Workshops are scheduled on a quarterly basis by the EIM Office, coordinating with the EIM site administrator at parishes, schools and other diocesan agencies. Staff of these sites wishing to host a workshop must coordinate with their EIM site administrator. The EIM site administrator should make all workshop requests on the Workshop Request Table which is sent to parishes/schools a few months prior to each new schedule block. Additional workshops will not be added to the EIM workshop calendar unless the EIM office determines a particular need. EIM site administrators may direct inquiries about EIM workshop scheduling to Emily Hurlimann or Colleen Schiller in the EIM Office at (512) 949-2400.

To determine which type of EIM workshop you need to attend, please click here. Currently scheduled 1½ hour EIM Refresher Workshops and 3-hour EIM Basic Workshops are listed here.