The Friday E-Pistle (Sept. 8, 2017)

Statements on DACA

Diocese of Austin

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez and Auxiliary Bishop Daniel E. Garcia of Austin issued the following statement on Sept. 6:

We are profoundly disappointed by the Administration’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This decision has created unnecessary fear and anxiety for thousands of youth and their families. Those who entered this country as minors by virtue of their parents’ decision have been protected by DACA since 2012.

DACA youth who work, contribute to society, and serve in the military were once filled with hope. With this decision, DACA youth now live in fear of being deported. This is a sad time in our nation’s history, especially for DACA youth who seek to continue contributing to the good of this country. It is our belief that this decision lacks an acknowledgement of the many contributions these young people have made to our society.  

Sadly, this decision falls short of the gospel’s proclamation that “whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me” (Mk 9:37). As a local Church let us pray for these Dreamers who wish only to serve and work for the greater benefit of our country. Finally, let us continue to pray for our leaders to enact comprehensive immigration reform with reasonable and rational solutions.

Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops

The bishops of Texas, through the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, issued a statement denouncing the Administration's termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement denouncing the Administration's termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Reflection question

Gospel meditation

Consider using the following meditation for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Sept. 24):

  • The scale of God’s generosity and mercy is impossible for us to comprehend accurately. Have we reflected on all that God has done for us? How great is God’s mercy? Are we content with our blessings or do we strive for more? How generously do we use our goods in service of others? God calls us to strive to be the servant of all.
  • La escala de la generosidad y la misericordia de Dios es imposible para nosotros entender con precisión ¿Hemos reflexionado sobre todo lo que Dios ha hecho por nosotros? ¿Qué tan grande es su misericordia? ¿Estamos contentos con nuestras bendiciones o nos esforzamos por más? ¿Qué tan generosamente usamos nuestros bienes para el servicio de otros? Dios nos invita a esforzarnos por ser el servidor de todos.


Youth Office

Catholic Scouting

The 2017 Scout Recognition Mass is scheduled for Sept. 30 at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Parish in Bryan. The Mass is open to all Scouts and all those who earned a religious emblem during this past year will be recognized. There will be a reception following the Mass and photos can be taken with the bishop.  Scouts and Scouters should wear their uniforms. Contact Julie Blackwell at  (512) 261-4698 for more information.


Stewardship and Development

PDS Training

The diocese will offer a beginner and advanced PDS training session at the diocesan Pastoral Center in Austin on Sept. 12. There will be a morning session from 9 a.m. to noon for new users or for those that would like to review the basics. The afternoon session from 1 to 4 p.m. will cover advanced reporting on families, members, contributions, exports and financials. A PDS feedback session forum has been added from noon to 1 p.m. during which PDS developers will be available to discuss functionality users have on their Church Office “wish list.” Lunch will be provided. PDS users are welcome to attend these sessions one at a time, take both in one day or come and join us just for the feedback session. Click here to register for the sessions. For questions, contact Lisa Rosenberger at (512) 949-2450.

CSA Training

  • Priests, parish secretaries, business administrators, CSA coordinators and stewardship and development administrators are strongly encouraged to attend a training session for this year’s Catholic Services Appeal.
  • Participants may attend the session that is most convenient for them.
  • At least one person from each parish must attend.
  • New pastors and newly ordained priests are encouraged to attend.
  • Topics covered will include previous CSA results, raising awareness, parish materials, the CSA case statement, conducting the appeal and return procedures.
  • Parish CSA materials will be distributed at this time.
  • Participants must RSVP in order to receive their materials.

Please RSVP online by Sept. 20 for one of the following sessions:

  • Sept. 26, 10–11:30 a.m., Austin–Diocese of Austin Pastoral Center
  • Sept. 26, 1:30-3 p.m., Austin–Diocese of Austin Pastoral Center
  • Sept. 27, 10–11:30 a.m., Austin–Diocese of Austin Pastoral Center
  • Sept. 27, 1:30-3 p.m. Austin–Diocese of Austin Pastoral Center
  • Sept. 28, 9–10:30 a.m., Kyle–St. Anthony Marie de Claret Parish, Joseph Room, Holy Family Building

Please note that there is a time change in the following training sessions due to the Priest Convocation the week of Oct. 2.

  • Oct. 10, 9-10:30 a.m., Waco-St. Jerome Parish, Jordan Hall
  • Oct. 10, 1:30-3 p.m., Temple-St. Luke Parish, Parish Hall
  • Oct. 11, 10–11:30 a.m., Burnet–Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, Parish Hall
  • Oct. 12, 9-10:30 a.m., College Station–St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Youth Room
  • Oct. 12, 1:30-3 p.m., Giddings-St. Margaret Parish, Parish Hall


Pastoral Plan

Hurricane Harvey

The Pastoral Plan is still being implemented. As we focus our prayers, thoughts, funds and work on those affected by Hurricane Harvey, the plan's Goal 3 is a perfect place to start. The plan can guide your parish in reaching out to those in need.


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

Upcoming retreats

  • The Listening to the Voice of God retreat will be at St. Mary Parish in Waco on Sept. 18 from 9 2:30 p.m. Grow in a deeper relationship with God by learning how the Lord speaks to us in our everyday life. Franciscan Father Albert Haase will present this day based on his bestselling book entitled, Saying Yes: Discovering and Responding to God’s Will in Your Life. The cost is $30 and includes lunch. To register, call (254)  780-2436.
  • The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run Retreat will be held Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. Rev. Stanley Rother died a martyr on July 28, 1981, in a Guatemalan village where he ministered to the poor. His life remains a testament to the difference one person makes. Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda, author of the award-winning official biography of the same title, will present this weekend. Cost is $170 per person for a shared room and $95 for commuters. To register, call (254)  780-2436.


Canonical and Tribunal Services

Advocacy Training workshop

The diocesan Office of Canonical and Tribunal Services will host an Advocacy Training workshop on Sept. 16 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.  For more information, contact Gloria Villarreal at (512) 949-2482. Click here to register.


Weekly notes

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer requests

Please consider Bishop Vásquez’ prayer requests for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Sept. 24):

  • May we strive to be a community of servants seeking to be last rather than first …
  • Por que nos esforcemos en ser una comunidad de servidores, buscando ser los últimos más que los primeros ...
  • For those who continue to recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, mau they know the generosity and mercy of God made present through the actions of others …
  • Por aquellos que continúan recuperándose de las secuelas del Huracán Harvey, por que conozcan la generosidad y misericordia de Dios hecha presente a través de las acciones de otros ...


Ethics and Integrity in Ministry

EIM Workshop

Click here to login to your EIM account in order to find the EIM Workshop schedule and to Sign Up for a Workshop (bottom right of your account page). 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, including instructions on how to login to your EIM account, click here.

EIM Workshops are scheduled by the EIM Office in coordination with the EIM site administrator at parishes, schools and other diocesan agencies; other staff members should work with their EIM site administrator regarding workshop requests. 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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