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Happy New Year and Feast of the Epiphany


Happy New Year! Blessings to you on this feast day of the Epiphany of the Lord.  We begin this new year filled with joy.  During this Christmas season, we reflect on our Savior being born and swaddled in a manger.  We are excited for all the gifts he brings us this new year and we pray that the Holy Family continue to abide in our hearts.  As I reflect on this past year, we can count the many blessings and challenges this year has brought and hope for a prosperous and joyful new year.  Below you will find the newsletter.  It is filled with valuable resources, including an important message from our Bishop Vasquez.  Here is the prayer for the blessing of the chalk in celebration of the three kings.  

Prayer: For the Blessing of the Doors in the Home

P: Our help is in the name of The Lord.

All: Who made heaven and earth.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: And with your spirit.
Bless, + O Lord God, this creature chalk to render it helpful to men. Grant that they who use it in faith and with it inscribe upon the entrance of their homes the names of thy saints, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, may through their merits and intercession enjoy health of body and protection of soul. Through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

The chalk is sprinkled with holy water.

Prayer Source: Roman Ritual: Volume III, The Blessings by Philip T. Weller, The Bruce Publishing Company, 1952


Gustavo Rodriguez
Director of Evangelization and Catechesis
Message from Bishop Joe S. Vásquez


YEAR OF THE DOMESTIC CHURCH

The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith"

For this reason, the family home is rightly called “the domestic church,” a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity (CCC, 1666).” 

This year our diocese celebrates the family as the domestic church. As a response to the changes in faith formation programming made necessary by the pandemic, many parish catechetical leaders have concentrated on working with parents and supporting them in parent-led formation. To further assist parishes in both raising awareness and strengthening the domestic church, the diocesan website has ideas, resources, reference and social media content arranged by monthly themes. The catechism proclaims the family as a community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, how to love, give, and forgive, and begin to honor and worship God in prayer (2207). The domestic church initiative aims to encourage and inspire families toward this goal.

JANUARY THEME: VOCATIONS & THE DOMESTIC CHURCH
“Entrants to religious life are significantly influenced by a sense of call, example, and the encouragement of family and others …”
  
A 2015 study conducted by the National Religious Vocational Conference on the role of the family in nurturing vocations to religious life and priesthood strived to provide helpful information to Catholic parents on encouraging their children to consider the religious life and priesthood as vocation options. The study found that family members of seminarians, priests and religious prioritized the practice of daily prayer, shared meals and family time, and engagement in service to the parish and community, more than Catholic families as a whole.

These families suggest upholding priesthood and religious life as options for young people when they are exploring and considering their future … and providing encouragement and support if they show interest. See the website for ideas to utilize with families in your parish. Encourage families to share the Word of God together – to practice listening as God speaks to their hearts, and to help each other discern the path God is calling them to, be it the married, single, or religious life.

INSPIRATION FROM ST ANGELA MERICI (Feast Day Jan 27):
As a young woman, she became a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis, and lived a life of great austerity, wishing, like Saint Francis, to own nothing, not even a bed. Early in life she was appalled at the ignorance among poorer children, whose parents could not or would not teach them the elements of religion. Others joined her in giving regular instruction to the little girls of their neighborhood. At 57, she organized a group of 12 girls to help her in catechetical work. Four years later the group had increased to 28. She formed them into the Company of Saint Ursula for the purpose of re-Christianizing family life through solid Christian education of future wives and mothers. The members continued to live at home, had no special habit and took no formal vows, though the early Rule prescribed the practice of virginity, poverty, and obedience.
 
LA IGLESIA DOMESTICA: Here are two brief articles in Spanish from Catholic.net:      
La Familia en el Plan de Dios

Familia primera Iglesia

Maryrae Stein
Assoc. Director for Catechesis & Formation 

 
Year of Domestic Church Resources

NEW DIRECTORY FOR CATECHESIS


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 register at links below. 

 


 

DATE CHAPTER & TOPIC
   
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 New Year

Happy New Year! 2021 is now here and as we said “good-bye” to a very challenging 2020, we look forward and pray for a much better new year.

More of our parish programs are also returning to in-person sessions even if only for sacramental preparation or parent meetings and some will continue virtually. Regardless of the format, we know all of you are providing the best for your parishes. We want to encourage all of you to participate in the already scheduled deanery meetings especially for the peer support you will receive.

We will continue to offer several certification classes starting this month and ads have been included in the January edition of the Catholic Spirit in English and Spanish sections—copies are below. We ask that you also help promote these classes to your team members.

Also, please mark your calendar with a new date for DRE Orientation Day which has been postponed until March 1 instead of January 11. We realize many of you are currently extremely busy at the present time. As a reminder, DRE Orientation Day is open to all new DREs, those who have never participated and those who just need a refresher. We will begin to take RSVPs at a later date.


Carolyn Martinez
Coordinator of Catechesis 

 
Register for Class in English
Register for Classes in Spanish
DEANERY MEETINGS

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)  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: Jan 11, Mar 8, May 10, 2021.
  • Waco (Zoom link sent day before meeting) 5:00pm Jan 14, Mar 8
  • Bastrop/Lockhart (Zoom links will be sent Wednesday preceding the meeting): All meetings at 6:30 p.m.:  January 8, February 12, April 16 
  • Lampasas/Marble Falls (Zoom links will be sent on Monday before the meeting date): Meeting begins at 11:30 a.m.: January 14
  • San Marcos (Zoom link will be sent early week prior to meeting) Meeting begins at 10 a.m.: January 21
Please click here for more information on this Retreat
Registration for Retreat in English
Registration for Retreat in Spanish
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
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Diocese of Austin - Pastoral Center
6225 Hwy 290 E, Austin, TX 78723
Phone: (512) 949-2400
Fax: (512) 949-2520

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