The Friday E-Pistle (Jan. 6, 2017)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Happy New Year

May Jesus Christ, Son of God and Prince of Peace, dispel the darkness of sin and strife from our world and strengthen our hearts with a deeper faith, hope and love.

Priest retreats

Please pray for those priests and bishops who will be on retreat during the first few weeks of January, that God may bring us spiritual refreshment and renewal.

World Day of Peace

Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Peace, which was Jan. 1, is available on the Vatican website.

National Migration Week

For nearly a half century, the Catholic Church in the U.S. has celebrated National Migration Week, which is an opportunity for the Church to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children and victims and survivors of human trafficking. The theme for National Migration Week 2017, which runs Jan. 8-14, draws attention to Pope Francis' call to create a culture of encounter, and in doing so to look beyond our own needs and wants to those of others around us. In the homily given at his first Pentecost as pope, he emphasized the importance of encounter in the Christian faith: "For me this word is very important. Encounter with others. Why? Because faith is an encounter with Jesus, and we must do what Jesus does: encounter others."


Reflection question

Gospel meditation                         

Consider using the following meditation for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jan. 22):

  • A light has arisen. Following the arrest of John, Jesus takes up the message first preached by John, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus’ light shines brightly leading others to God. Seeing the light of Christ is often easy. However, we are not often willing to follow, as we are called to die to ourselves. How is God asking us to change in order to follow Christ more faithfully?
  • Una luz se ha encendido. Después del arresto de Juan, Jesús retoma el mensaje que fue predicado anteriormente por él, "Arrepiéntanse por que el Reino de Dios se acerca". La luz de Jesús brilla conduciendo a otros hacia Dios. Ver la luz de Cristo con frecuencia es fácil. Sin embargo, no estamos dispuestos a seguirla ya que nos invita a morir para nosotros mismos. ¿Cómo está Dios pidiéndole que cambie para seguir a Cristo más fielmente?


Catholic Charities of Central Texas

Utility assistance

Catholic Charites of Central Texas is partnering with Atmos Energy to assist individuals and families in central Texas who are at risk of losing their gas service because of financial difficulties. Atmos Energy customers who live in Brazos, Burleson, Falls, Milam, Limestone and Robertson counties may call the Catholic Charities office in Bryan at (979) 822-9340 for assistance. Residents of Bastrop, Bell, Burnet, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Lee, Llano, McLennan, Mills, San Saba, Travis and Williamson counties may call the Catholic Charities office in Austin at (512) 651-6100.


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 18,200 families totaling more than $4.97 million. Parishioners are encouraged to generously support the CSA. The top five parishes with the largest increase in the number of gifts year over year are:  St. Thomas More, Austin; St. Joseph, Killeen; Santa Rosa, Andice; Holy Vietnamese, Austin; and St. Margaret Mary, Cedar Park. Look for the detailed list on the website under the Parish Incentive Program in upcoming weeks.

Current parish goal reports are available on the diocesan website.


Ethics and Integrity in Ministry

Facilitator training

The Ethics and Integrity in Ministry Office is training new facilitators for Called to Protect for Youth (CTPY – the abuse prevention/education program for middle/high school students) on Feb. 4. For more information about being a workshop facilitator, please visit the EIM section of the diocesan website.

Those interested in being trained to facilitate the adult EIM workshop and/or the CTPY program should submit a New Facilitator Application, along with the requested information, to the EIM office. Please contact Emily Hurlimann at or (512) 949-2447 with questions. Once the application is received and reviewed by the EIM office, applicants will be contacted with specifics for the upcoming training sessions.


Finance Office

Special Collection money due

Please send funds from the World Mission Sunday/Propagation of the Faith special collection taken up Oct. 22-23 to the diocesan Finance Office as soon as possible. Send checks to Finance Office, Diocese of Austin, 6225 Hwy. 290 East, Austin 78723.


Family Life Office

Marriage preparation leader training

Marriage preparation leader training will be offered on Jan. 19 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the diocesan Pastoral Center in Austin and on Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the diocesan Pastoral Center in Austin. This training is intended for parishes that want to revise marriage preparation programs or want to create a new marriage preparation process. The cost of the training is $50 per person (which includes lunch and Together in God’s Love facilitator guide with DVDs). A discount is available for group registrations. For more information, call (512) 949-2470.


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request for the Third Sunday Ordinary Time (Jan. 22):

  • That we would have the courage to follow where Christ leads even if it calls for us to abandon our familiar and comfortable ways in order to be free to serve others, we pray …
  • Por que tengamos el valor de seguir a Cristo a donde quiera que Él nos guíe, incluso si nos llama a abandonar nuestras maneras de vivir familiares y cómodas, para poder ser libres de servir a los demás, 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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