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Even under such difficult times,
we are still grateful for so many blessings this year.

In about three weeks, we will be ending the 2020 liturgical year.  As we wrap up the year, let us reflect on the many blessings we have in our families and our community.  Even though our year has been filled with uncertainty and change, we can recognize that we are truly blessed if we take time to reflect.

As a community, we have been resilient, united, and focused on innovative ways to continue to bring the message of Christ to families in our community.  It can be challenging to see the silver lining with a cloud over us. However, when we have a strong focus on Christ and put everything in his hands, we free ourselves to trust God. Counting our blessings during this challenging time is a healthy way to focus on the church's mission and message.   

In addition to getting closer to the end of the liturgical year, we have Thanksgiving, Advent, and the Christmas season to look forward to and celebrate.  This time of year includes my favorite liturgical feast day: The Feast of Christ the King.  I love this day for three reasons: My wife and I celebrate our wedding anniversary on this date; it is the end of the liturgical year; the Gospel of Mathew sets the tone for what is expected from us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  According to the Gospel of Matthew:

Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry, and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you?
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'

-Matthew 25

This Gospel passage sets the tone for the work we are all called to do within our particular ministries. As leaders in our parish communities, let us finish the year with gratitude and focus the new liturgical year with a lens of empathy, compassion, and service to others. 
In this newsletter, there are many opportunities for formation, resources to support your programs and families.  Please know that The Office of Evangelization & Catechesis and the Office of Youth, Young Adult & Campus Ministry will continue to find and develop additional resources to help during this catechetical year.  Contact any member of our offices if you have any questions or need any assistance.

Gustavo Rodriguez
Director of Evangelization and Catechesis

“I will thank the Lord with all my heart …” Psalm 111:1

The month of November certainly calls to mind the theme of thankfulness. Beginning with the Feast of All Saints on Nov 1, we commemorate one of the great blessings of our faith, the Community of Saints, heroes and models of Christian life who stand ready to intercede in our behalf. The Feast of All Souls brings the opportunity to remember our loved ones who have passed, thank them for all they brought to our lives and pray for their purification that they may enter heaven. Many families build festive altars (ofrendas) in their homes, placing photos, candles, flowers and food.  

This year, Nov 3 is Election Day, and despite the polarizing political climate, we stop and give thanks for the freedom to voice opinions and cast our vote, and to those courageous men and women who fought for those rights and defend them today. On Nov 11 we honor and thank those who have answered the call to protect our democracy, serving their country in times of conflict.

Our liturgy on Thanksgiving Day presents us with the Gospel passage of Jesus healing ten lepers, only one of whom returned to thank him, “glorifying God in a loud voice”. May the Word encourage us as families to notice the blessings every day brings, to hold them close to their heart, and on Thanksgiving Day to turn to God in thanks, praising him “in a loud voice” for his abundant love and mercy!


Whenever I have asked a group of students, be it children or adults, this question: “Who has influenced your faith journey the most?”, inevitably the most common answer is “my grandparent”. Our new Directory for Catechesis recognizes the role grandparents play in the faith formation of their grandchildren, stating “In addition to the parents it is the grandparents, above all in certain cultures, who carry out a special role in the transmission of the faith to the very young (126).” In his presentation for Magnify, a virtual conference sponsored by NCCL, Mike Patin outlines four ways grandparents most influence the faith habits of their grandchildren. The first of these is WITNESS. They share their sacred stories, remembering what God has done for them, “teaching them to their children and to their children’s children” (Deut 3:9). The second is MODEL. In imitating Christ in love and fidelity they help children see the Gospel in the flesh. The third is PRACTICE. By being intentionally available and using key moments during the day (meal time, bed time, bath time, drive home from school time) they practice God talk and prayer. One great way to practice Night Prayer is the acronym PRAY: P- praise; R-reconcile; A – ask; Y- yield to God in silence. Lastly, be HOLDERS of the priceless gift of faith. “The good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children” (Prov 13:22). In these ways grandparents become what Pope Benedict called “a great treasure both in wisdom and spirituality”. In this month of thankfulness, we remember those grandparents who through witness, model, practice and perseverance, brought the light of Christ to their grandchildren and encouraged them to keep the flame burning. Pope Francis, speaking at a Vatican conference in late January 2020 said “God has a large population of grandparents throughout the world … They are the indispensable link in educating children and young people in the faith… Nowadays, in secularized societies in many countries, current generations of parents do not have, for the most part, the Christian formation and living faith that grandparents can pass on to their grandchildren. They are not only people whom we are called to assist and protect to guard their lives, but they can be actors in a pastoral evangelizing ministry, privileged witnesses of God’s faithful love.”   

Here is a beautiful prayer for grandparents to pray for their grandchildren:

Good and Gracious God,
Thank You for the gift of my grandchildren.
Just as Saints Joachim and Anne cherished and nurtured Jesus,
help me to leave a legacy of faith through prayer, witness, and love.

Please bless my grandchildren (name each one),
protect them from harm and help them to grow in holiness.
May they come to know and love your Son, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

I ask Your blessing upon their parents, leading them to a deeper faith.
I entrust my grandchildren to You.
St. Michael the Archangel protect my grandchildren,
today and always. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

St. Joachim and St Anne, holy grandparents of Jesus, pray for us!



Liturgy Training Publications offers frequent webinars to assist RCIA Teams in planning the various phases of the process, the art of accompaniment, the celebration of Rites and implementing catechesis that is inclusive of all the Church offers. To access past recordings click HERE. There are webinars in both English and Spanish.

To view “RCIA Will Never Be the Same Again” and 5 other great webinars to assist in the process from Ave Maria Press, click HERE.  

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, celebrated on November 29th, culminates the Church’s liturgical year. Joe Paprocki, National Consultant for Loyola Press, reminds us that “for us to celebrate Christ as our King is to proclaim that God has intervened in our lives to:

  • bring order to our lives and provide for justice
  • unify his people and mend relationships
  • do what is best for us and inspire us to live to our full potential
  • convey the truth and fulfill his word
  • protect us from the danger of sin;
  • affirm us; and be with us forever. He is ours and we are his.

Try this handout by Joe with your older students to connect symbols of a kingdom with biblical texts.
Here is a short video and a family activity  from One-Word to remind us that Jesus is the King of our hearts.
For younger children, try this animated video that poses the question “What does it mean to say that Christ is King?” and this coloring page. 

Maryrae Stein
Assoc. Director for Catechesis & Formation 




Join the discussions on the Directory for Catechesis to keep abreast of the most recent directives and guidelines for catechesis in today’s world. English sessions are on Mondays at 7pm, and Spanish sessions are on Thursdays at 7pm. Both meet twice monthly and are open to all, regardless of participation in prior sessions. Below is the schedule of dates and topics. Please read the material ahead of time and jot down any questions, insights, or passages that you would love to bring up for discussion. If you are not currently receiving the zoom link for the sessions and would like to join, please email



Nov 16 6&7: The CCC & Methodology in Catechesis
18 de Nov 6&7: El Catecismo de la Iglesia Catolica y Metodologia en la Catequesis
Nov 30 8: Catechesis in the Lives of Persons
3 de Dic 8: La Catequesis en la Vida de las Personas
Dec 14 9: The Christian Community as Participant in Catechesis
16 de Dic 9: La Comunidad Cristiana Sujeto de la Catequesis
Jan 11 10: Catechesis in the Face of Contemporary Cultural Scenarios
14 de Ene 10: La Catequesis Frente a los Escenarios Culturales Contemporáneos
Jan 25 11 & 12: Catechesis at the Service of the Inculturation of the Faith and The Organisms at the Service of Catechesis
28 de Ene 11 & 12: La Catequesis al Servicio de la Inculturación de la Fe y Los Organismos al Servicio de la Catequesis
More information and Registration for English
More information and Registration for Spanish

A Thankful Heart

“You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God, for the administration of this public service is not only supplying the needs of the holy ones but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. Through the evidence of this service, you are glorifying God for your obedient confession of the gospel of Christ and the generosity of your contribution to them and to all others, while in prayer on your behalf they long for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”  2 Corinthians 9:11-15


It seems unreal that we are in November and that the focus of this newsletter is on Thanksgiving and Advent which is coming at an equally fast pace. Under the current circumstances this newsletter feels different, however, the need to give thanks has not changed.

As we continue with guidelines, ordinances and policies to protect everyone from COVID-19, we give thanks to all those who continue working on the frontline to help those who have fallen ill. We thank all the community organizations that have come together to provide food and shelter to those who have lost jobs. We thank all our schools, teachers and parents who work together to provide the best education possible for all our students while also making sure they stay healthy.

We especially want to thank our incredible Directors of Religious Education / Parish Catechetical Leaders who tirelessly have worked to plan, organize, recruit and creatively establish programs that best fit the needs of their community. Their hours and dedication of service along with the parish teams have allowed for the formation process to continue therefore continuing to bring the faithful closer to Christ.

In the last few issues, I have tried to feature a DRE and also include pictures of successful moments amongst our challenges. This issue, instead of highlighting one leader, I have asked several to share a thanksgiving statement. I want to personally thank them all for sharing.

I would also like to take a moment to let you know how thankful I am to be blessed to work with such extraordinarily passionate individuals whose love for God simply resonates profoundly. Thank you.

 “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worth of praise, think about these things.”  Philippians 4:6-8

Statements of Thanksgiving from some of our Catechetical Leaders

Darren Siebert: St. Thomas Aquinas, College Station
“I am so thankful for the families of our parish adapting and supporting the way formation and ministry is looking right now, and especially thankful to the Children’s Ministry catechists and Youth Ministry Core Team who continue to guide our children and youth closer to Christ and His Church.”
Amy Viertel: St. Philip, China Springs
“I am thankful for the opportunity to teach and work with not only students but also parents this year as we have embraced a Family Catechesis type model at St. Philip. It is a true joy to see each Zoom square pop up on Wednesday nights with so many smiling faces and to hear their thoughts, questions and input. What a gift to be able to connect and grow together in Christ as family units!”
Rita Velasquez: San Jose, Austin
“I am thankful for the catechists who without question accepted the challenge of a different but exciting religious education program!”
Susan Moore: St. Ferdinand, Blanco
“I am thankful for the welcoming smiles of catechists and parents and how they care for the children and for each other.  I'm thankful for the support of my priest, Fr. Bryon, in planning for this year and in purchasing supplies so we can be sure that all of our families, whether learning in person or at home, are welcomed and cared for.”

Sonia Vega-Perez: St. Monica, Cameron
“I am thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of this ministry in faith formation sharing God’s Good News and learning new evangelization methods. I am more than ever reassured that God does work for the Greater Good of all. In religious education, our new strategies with at home catechesis is a prime example of family evangelization, fellowship & bonding in the home.”

Sandra Salinas / Marilyn Williams: St. John, Luling
“Thank you, Sweet Jesus, for our ability to reach our Catholic youth through their parents in family catechesis. The domestic Church is now our primary concern and our parish families are the source of Your goodness.  Amen.”


Formation Classes

Basics Teachings of the Catholic Church

Saturdays via Zoom—English
The fall round of Basic Teachings classes has two final sessions including Morality and Prayer/Spirituality offered in November. For those needing to make up a class or wanting to register for the entire program, a winter/spring round will begin in January. Please refer to the class schedules and registration links below for more information.

To register, click here:

November 7, 2020 Morality 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
November 21, 2020 Prayer 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturdays via Zoom—Spanish
To register, click here:
November 7, 2020 Moralidad 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
November 21, 2020 Oración y Espiritualidad 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
2021 Winter / Spring Basic Teachings Schedule
To register, click here:
January 16, 2021 Sacred Scripture 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
February 13, 2021 Creed 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
March 6, 2021 Sacraments 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
March 27, 2021 Morality 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
April 24, 2021 Prayer 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Catholic Adult Formation Classes— English 16-hour 
Virtual classes continue for November with Morality. Below you will also find the 2021 course schedule for your planning purposes.

To register for Morality, click here:
November 3, 2020 Morality 6:30-9:30 p.m.
November 10, 2020 Morality 6:30-9:30 p.m.
November 17, 2020 Morality 6:30-9:30 p.m.
December 1, 2020 Morality 6:30-9:30 p.m.
2021 Planning Ahead—Registration will open soon! (Virtual Classes)
January 5, 2021 Sacred Scripture 6:30-9:30 p.m.
January 12, 2021 Sacred Scripture 6:30-9:30 p.m.
January 19, 2021 Sacred Scripture 6:30-9:30 p.m.
January 26, 2021 Sacred Scripture 6:30-9:30 p.m.
February 2, 2021 Christology 6:30-9:30 p.m.
February 9, 2021 Christology 6:30-9:30 p.m.
February 16, 2021 Christology 6:30-9:30 p.m.
February 23, 2021 Christology 6:30-9:30 p.m.
March 2, 2021 Sacramental Theology 6:30-9:30 p.m.
March 9, 2021 Sacramental Theology 6:30-9:30 p.m.
March 16, 2021 Sacramental Theology 6:30-9:30 p.m.
March 23, 2021 Sacramental Theology 6:30-9:30 p.m.
April 6, 2021 Catholic Social Teaching 6:30-9:30 p.m.
April 13, 2021 Catholic Social Teaching 6:30-9:30 p.m.
April 20, 2021 Catholic Social Teaching 6:30-9:30 p.m.
April 27, 2021 Catholic Social Teaching 6:30-9:30 p.m.
DRE Level Certification Classes (Virtual Classes)
These are two classes that were canceled during our 2020 summer offering and have been requested by many DREs in order to get closer to certification completion.

To register visit:
January 21, 2021 Conflict Management (three hours only) 6:30-9:30 p.m.
February 4, 2021 Strategic Planning (three hours only) 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Spanish Classes (Virtual Offering)
These will be offered in two-part sessions.

To register for these visit: .
November 3, 2020 Teorías y Estilos de Aprendizaje Parte 1 7-9 p.m.
November 17, 2020 Teorías y Estilos de Aprendizaje Parte 2 7-9 p.m.
January 9, 2020 Catequización por Justicia Social Parte 1 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.
January 23, 2020 Catequización por Justicia Social Parte 2 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.


Carolyn Martinez
Coordinator of Catechesis 

Resources for Fall Catechetical Programs

Please review the following documents as you develop a parish catechetical formation plan for the fall. All of the resources below can also be found on our Diocesan Website under the two different web pages:

(COVID E&C and YYACM Resources)
(YYACM Resources)
Formation Options Memo 2020-2021
Sacramental Formation Options 2020-2021
Addendum to Sacramental Formation 2020-2021
Monthly Topics and Lessons for Catechetical Instruction
Protocols for In-Person Ministry (English)
Protocols for In-Person Ministry (Spanish)
Ministry Waiver (English)
Ministry Waiver (Spanish)

Deaneries are encouraged to gather DREs virtually at regular intervals to share best practices, discuss challenges, create comradery, and collaborate on deanery wide events. Most deaneries meet every other month; some prefer to gather monthly. Deanery representatives are asked to send scheduled dates to their diocesan liaison who can assist with creating the Zoom links if needed. In-person meetings are discouraged during the pandemic.
  • North Austin/Round Rock/Georgetown (Zoom links will be sent the Monday before the meeting date): (All meetings 10-11am) Oct 8, Nov 12, Dec 10, 2020. Jan 14, Feb 11, Mar 11, Apr 15, May 13, 2021. 
  • Killeen/Temple (Zoom link will be sent on the Friday preceding the meeting): All meetings 4:00-5:00pm: Nov 9, 2020. Jan 11, Mar 8, May 10, 2021.
  • Waco (Zoom link sent day before meeting) 5:00pm Nov 12, Jan 14
Register Today
Gustavo Rodriguez
Director, Office of Evangelization & Catechesis
Ph. (512) 949-2542 
Maryrae Stein
Assoc. Director for Catechesis & Formation
Ph. (512) 949-2469

Carolyn Martinez
Coordinator for Catechesis
Ph. (512) 949-2461

Sue Durango
Administrative Assistant
Ph. (512) 949-2492

Diocese of Austin - Pastoral Center
6225 Hwy 290 E, Austin, TX 78723
Phone: (512) 949-2400
Fax: (512) 949-2520

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