The Friday E-Pistle (Feb. 3, 2017)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointments

  • Rev. Augustine Ariwaodo, as parochial vicar at San José Parish in Austin, effective Feb. 8, 2017.
  • Rev. Payden Blevins, as parochial vicar at St. Louis Parish in Waco, effective Feb. 8, 2017.
  • Deacon James T. Weiland to Ascension Parish in Bastrop, effective Feb. 5, 2017.

Pastoral Plan Implementation

The Pastoral Plan implementation process continues to unfold at the diocesan and parish levels. The Pastoral Plan microsite serves as the main tool for pastors and parish leaders to learn about ways to implement the plan’s objectives. Two new resources have been added this week. Twenty-Third Publications offers wonderful booklets for the Lenten season as well as simple, affordable resources to nourish your Catholic faith. A number of their resources are available in Spanish. Another excellent resource is "The Journey/El Camino" from Paulist Evangelization Ministries; it is designed to help Catholics deepen their personal relationship with Christ and encounter Jesus in their lives. Also check out Faith in Action to see what can be done personally to implement the Pastoral Plan in your own life.


Reflection question

Gospel meditation

Consider using the following meditation for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Feb. 19):

  • An action motivated by hate or revenge is never positive. The Law of Retaliation, “an eye for an eye,” was intended to set a limit on revenge. Jesus instructs his disciples to interrupt this cycle of retribution. A disciple’s motivation must be love, never hate or revenge. Jesus is inviting us to conversion. It is easy to love those who love us. Jesus asks us to love those who do not love us and even those who hate us or harm us. Why? Because God does, and he calls us to strive for holiness and perfection.
  • Una acción motivada por el odio o la venganza nunca es positiva. La Ley de la Venganza, "ojo por ojo," tenía la intención de poner un límite a la venganza. Jesús instruye a sus discípulos a que interrumpan el ciclo de la venganza. La motivación de un discípulo debe ser el amor, nunca el odio o la venganza. Jesús nos invita a la conversión. Es fácil amar a aquellos que nos aman. Jesús nos pide amar a quellos que no nos aman e incluso a aquellos que nos odian o nos lastiman ¿Por qué? Por que Dios lo hace, y Él nos llama a esforzarnos por la santidad y la perfección.


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.


Stewardship and Development Office

Catholic Services Appeal update

  • Thank you for your continued support and generosity to the Catholic Services Appeal. To date, we have received pledges from almost 19,000 families totaling almost $5.4 million. Parishioners are encouraged to generously support the CSA. 
  • Current parish goal reports are available online.


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


Black Catholics

Black History Month

February is Black History Month and Feb. 5 is designated as the National Day of Prayer for the African American and African family. Please see the following link for background on the National Black History Month Theme: The Crisis in Black Education.


Weekly notes

Pope Francis’ prayer request

Please consider Pope Francis’ prayer request for the month of February:

  • That all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities.

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request for the Seventh Sunday Ordinary Time (Feb. 19):

  • That the faithful may always serve others motivated by love and never seek to harm others, we pray …
  • Por que todos los que están afligidos, especialmente los pobres, los refugiados y marginados, se encuentren bienvenidos y consolados en nuestras comunidades.

Annual men’s conference

The fifth annual Austin Catholic Men’s Conference will be held Feb. 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Austin. Speakers include Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers; Gus Lloyd, host of Seize the Day on Sirius XM’s The Catholic Chanel; and Robert Rogers. Tickets include refreshments, lunch and several valuable gifts. Advance registration is $39. Group discounts are available. For tickets or more information, visit


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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