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Getting Ready for the Catechetical Year!

I would like to highlight the incredible work of the North Austin, Round Rock, and Georgetown deaneries for their outstanding work on the 2019 RE Roundup.  It took place at St Albert the Great on August 24th.  The DREs and Catechetical leaders of these deaneries worked very hard organizing this event that provided catechetical and methodological formation for 300+ Catechist and DREs within our Diocese.  We had the pleasure of listening to a dynamic keynote, of our very own diocese, Vicar General Fr. James Misko.  He was able to squeeze in one hour a fascinating discourse on the Revelation of God and the Human Condition. We also had many opportunities for continuous formation with breakout sessions throughout the day.  Congratulations on such a fascinating event that not only benefited the Deanery but also the Diocese.  This is one example of how many of our deaneries have taken the lead and developed training and/or days of reflection for Catechists.  Another example of this leadership development was with the San Marcos Deanery.  They hosted a day of reflection on Aug 3rd at St. Martin de Porres Church in Dripping Springs.  We are so proud of all of the hard work and dedication from all of our deaneries.  We look forward to more opportunities like these in the year to come from deaneries throughout the Diocese.
Gustavo Rodriguez
Director of Evangelization and Catechesis




The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated the third Sunday in September as Catechetical Sunday to acknowledge the importance of the teaching ministry of the church and to recognize those who serve their parishes as catechists. This year, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 15, 2019. This is the perfect time to commission those called forth from the community to serve as catechists, to recognize the role of parents and guardians in handing on the faith to their children, and to encourage all persons to rededicate themselves to witnessing to the Gospel.  

For a commissioning service from the USCCB, click here.  This rite of blessing includes an optional blessing of parents and guardians, commending them on and encouraging them in their role of passing on the faith to the next generation.  

Prayer is essential to all ministry! Consider downloading these prayer resources: For a Catechist’s Prayer click here. For a Prayer for Catechists, click here. 

The 2019 theme will be "Stay with Us", quoting the two disciples on the road to Emmaus who invited Jesus to stay with them (Luke 24:13-35). We will focus on accompanying young people and their families, as we evangelize and catechize to form missionary disciples for Jesus Christ. The theme “Stay with Us" is a response to new data showing that the number of young people leaving the Church during adolescence is growing. Read Bishop Barron’s welcome message addressing this issue here. 



Gently lead into God’s embrace
The art of listening attentively 
Calls for patience and compassion           
Honors each person’s uniqueness before God 
Gradually moves another to be open to God’s grace 

These webinars from Sadlier help explain the relationship between accompanying, evangelizing, and catechizing: 

Be an Evangelizing Catechist
Catechesis and the Art of Accompaniment 

Maryrae Stein
Associate Director of Catechesis and Formation


August 1—DRE Certification Success 

Usually, when I walk into Gustavo’s office, his response is, “What did I do?” or “What do you want to do now?” Well, last year when he asked, I approached him on pending DRE certifications. There were several DREs who I had met with and created a plan of completion, but I also knew there were several DREs who were close to completing and I wanted to reach out of them and create a plan for them as well.  

Gustavo’s response was, “Well, okay and good luck!”. This turned out to be one of the most fulfilling projects for me, not only, because DREs would become fully Diocesan certified but more so because of the accompaniment that would take place.  

The process turned in to more of a journey of faith and encounter for them and me. I am very blessed in my role in our office to work very closely with all our DREs and this was an opportunity for me to walk with each of them and I truly appreciate it.  

The commitment made included making sacrifices in order to be present at every required class and in some instances included altering work schedules to attend. The dedication and perseverance were admirable. As you know, to be fully certified takes almost 250 hours of class time not including the retreats.  

The National Directory for Catechesis (p. 224, #5) states, 

“The single most critical factor in an effective parish catechetical program is the leadership of a professionally trained parish catechetical Leader.” 

These men and women are perfect examples to this statement. On August 1, 2019, fourteen Diocesan certifications were granted— 

DRE Certification: 

Edward Blatz, Santa Cruz-Buda 

Mary Nieves, Santa Cruz-Buda 

Maria Guerra, St. Joseph-Killeen 

Lisa Storemski, St. Joseph-Bryan 

Frank Ledesma, St. Albert-Austin 

Maria Rios, Sacred Heart-La Grange 

Veronica Rodriguez, St. Albert-Austin 

Christie McGee, St. John Neumann-Austin 

Jaeson Drummond, St. Mary Cathedral-Austin 

Yolanda Sanchez, St. Michael-Uhland 

Sonia Vega-Perez, St. Monica-Cameron (plus Youth Ministry Certification) 

Samantha Delfin, St. John Neumann-Austin (plus Youth Ministry Certification) 


Youth Ministry certification: 

 Margie Vasquez, Good Shepherd-Johnson City 

 Melanie Owens, St. Margaret Mary-Cedar Park 

My hope is to continue this journey with more DREs and that next summer be a new celebration.  

The September issue of the Catholic Spirit will have a special article focusing on the number of certifications granted this summer.  

DRE Support through Basketball

“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Mt 19:14


As DREs we tend to always be multi-tasking, have a list of deadlines and projects that are pending or overdue, and sometimes the title of DRE which usually translates to “Does Really Everything!” becomes more a job than ministry. As I reflect on the verse above, I am reminded that as we go about the busyness of our days, we need to be reminded of the true reason we do what we do—to bring others closer to Christ. In doing so, we ourselves also need to be open and willing to allow our inner child free.

I have known Maryrae Stein, our Associate Director, for several years. As some of you know, I am also the DRE of St. Michael in Uhland and Maryrae was the DRE for St. Anthony in Kyle which are neighboring parishes. We had our parish Jamaica at St. Michael on August 4-5 and I had reminded Maryrae not to forget to come support my Youth Group basketball booth.

Friday night was very busy; there were so many people and little kids, big kids and adult kids wanted to play basketball. Well, all the sudden I turn around and there is Maryrae playing basketball—I could not stop laughing because this was serious business! She played one game and left but shortly returned to make three balls in a row and won her stuffed animal!!! I was truly impressed but, honestly, she missed one ball and I was a little disappointed because I think she could have made four out of four.

DREs support one another through tough times and joyful playtimes. When we see and hear a child laugh and play, we also must be reminded to laugh and play and be open to receive God’s love in every moment—even through basketball.

Deanery Highlight—Brenham / La Grange / Bryan / College Station

The Brenham / La Grange and Bryan / College Station deaneries join forces and meet regularly every six weeks. These two deaneries consist of a total of 23 parishes and missions and have veteran DREs and some new to the position. They met on August 12 at St. Mary in Caldwell to kick-off the new RE year and the group has eagerly begun the planning process to have a catechist retreat in January 2020. This retreat would give catechists the opportunity to take advantage of a local gathering and come together to meet new faces from their neighboring parishes.

If you have not been able to attend the deanery meetings and would like more information about the meetings or the upcoming retreat, please contact the DRE Deanery Representatives for this area:

Lexxus Mayorga, St. John the Baptist, Fayetteville
Debbie Greene, Sacred Heart Parish, La Grange

Bryan/College Station
Dcn. Michael Beauvais, St. Anthony, Bryan
Lisa Storemski, St. Joseph, Bryan

Carolyn Martinez                                        
Coordinator of Catechesis

The Office of E & C continues to offer courses throughout the year at the Pastoral Center, in parishes, and using Zoom technology. For a list of those scheduled for Fall 2019 click on the link below.                                                   

Here are a few “SAVE THE DATES”: 

  • DRE Leadership Series begins via Zoom Technology on Tuesday, Sept 10th. Classes meet from 10am-noon twice monthly.  
  • Gender Identity Workshops will be held on September 23 and October 29 at the Pastoral Center. DeAnn Stuart with the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture will lead the discussion.  
  • DRE Bootcamp will be October 2nd at the Pastoral Center. A must for new DREs and a great tune-up for veterans! 
  • The “Implementing RCIA Adapted for Children” Workshop presented last Spring in English will be repeated in Spanish on October 26th at the Pastoral Center. 
  • DRE Orientation will be held on January 13 at the Pastoral Center. All-new, nearly new and those who would like a refresher are encouraged to attend.  
  • 2020 Publishers’ Days will be held on February 17 and March 23. Make plans to come visit with Publisher representatives and view their resources.  
  • Diocesan DRE Day will be held on March 31, 2020. All DREs and Coordinators are welcomed to attend.  
Schedule for Fall Formation 2019
Gender Identity Registration Form


English Prayer Books--$1  

Take advantage of our BLOWOUT SALE on our English Prayer books!  This special pricing is for English only as we are currently out of Spanish Prayer books. Please use this exclusive Blowout Sale form to order your books. The sale will continue until we run out of inventory so don’t delay!  

We encourage you to make arrangements for pick up in order to prevent shipping charges. If your order must be shipped, full shipping charges will be added to the invoice.  


Why are we offering the English books at $1? 

We are in the process of producing a new cover for both our English and Spanish Prayer books and this is the perfect time since we are already out of the Spanish. The new inventory will be at the $2 regular price per book.  

DRE Bootcamp – October 2 

Attention all new or nearly new DREs!  It’s back - DRE Bootcamp! Don't let the image scare you away - DRE Bootcamp is an opportunity to equip yourself with the knowledge, courage and wisdom you will need to tackle all the responsibilities thrown your way (reassuring hugs are provided at no extra charge!). DRE Bootcamp will be held on Wednesday, October 2, at the Diocesan Pastoral Center from 9:30 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. 
You are welcome to RSVP to and we encourage all DREs to share this date with any new DRE in your deanery. Deadline for your RSVP is Friday, September 27,  before 1 p.m. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Cedarbrake Retreat Center, Belton TX 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019, 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM           

The School for Contemplative Living; Semester 2  The School for Contemplative Living at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton introduces you to living a spiritual life more intentionally. It consists of three "semesters," each consisting of six weekly sessions (Wednesday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.). Through educational lectures and prayer experiences, you will be exposed both to the history of Christian spirituality as well as basics of a healthy, authentic and contemplative lifestyle. Each semester is not necessary to attend the previous semester to profit from the current or future semester. Registration for one individual Wednesday session is not permitted. The School of Contemplative Living at Cedarbrake is specifically designed for those who are eager to become more aware of God's action in their lives, for those in parish ministry (RCIA coordinators, Adult Faith Formation directors), for those thinking of entering a spiritual director training program or who are already trained as spiritual directors. The cost for each semester is $250 (includes lunch). Payment is required in full at the beginning of the semester. See our website for dates and more information:

Saturday, September 14, 2019, 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM:   

Retiro de un día - Liturgica, 14 de septiembre  Retiro para Matachines. En este retiro y formación para los danzantes Matachines aprenderemos la espiritualidad Guadalupana que es el corazón que guía este ministerio litúrgico hacia Cristo Jesus. Exploraremos diferentes maneras de comunicar esta tradición a los jóvenes y vivir esta espiritualidad en todo momento. Dirigido por Edgar Ramires. Costo sera de $30, e incluirá el almuerzo. Favor de registrarse en nuestro sitio de web o llamar a nuestra oficina, para obtener mas informacion. Registrarse a mas tardar el 6 de septiembre. 


Friday, September 20, 2019, 7:00 PM – Sun Sept 22, 11:30 AM:  

 The Becoming an Ordinary Mystic: Spirituality for the Rest of Us retreat will be held Sept. 20-22, at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. Someone once said, "Christians of the future will be mystics or they will be nothing at all." The mystic's vocation is the authentic call of each and every baptized Christian. Based upon his newest book to be released in August, Franciscan Father Albert Haase will explore the characteristics and challenges of ordinary mysticism: fostering awareness, having a healthy image of God, walking with mystery, and growing in a deeper prayer life. Cost is $235 for a single room, $185 per person for a shared room, and $100 for commuters. 


Saturday, October 19, 2019, 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM 

One Day Retreat - Cedarbrake on the Road - St. Albert the Great  The Listening to the Voice of God Retreat will be at St. Albert the Great Parish in Austin on Oct. 19. 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 $40 and includes lunch. 


Saturday, October 12, 2019, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM 

Lord Teach Me to Pray retreat 

Oct. 12: Lord Teach Me to Pray, an Ignatian Prayer Series, will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. Participants will learn how to deepen their prayer lives and how to help others deepen their prayer lives. Details: or (504) 439-5933. 


Saturday, October 19, 2019, 5:00 PM 

An Evening with Taizè Prayer  An Evening with Taizè Prayer at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton will begin with Mass at 5 p.m. followed by dinner. Taizè prayer will be presented in the chapel after dinner. This form of prayer originated from Taizè, France and is marked by candlelight, silence and music. The simple chants provide a way of praying when we are alone, during the day, or in the silence of our hearts. Cost for the evening is $25 per person. Registration will be online soon. 



Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM 

Catholic Scripture Study  Catholic Scripture Study (CSS) Austin will begin its 2019-2020 series on Wednesday, Sept 4. It begins at 9:30 am and ends at 11:30 am. The first 4 weeks will be a study of the Book of Ruth followed by 18 weeks on the Gospel of Mark. For more information, please check out the website at to see the class schedules and dates and to register. Cost will be $20 for the materials for Ruth and $40 for the study of Mark. The classes meet at St. Louis King of France Catholic Church, 7601 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757. 


Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM                    

Listening Session on Racism 

Bishop Joe Vásquez will host a Listening Session on Racism in the Diocese of Austin Sept. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. at St. Edward’s University in Austin. Everyone is invited to attend and share their stories during the session. In a recent interview explaining that racism has no place in the human heart, the bishop called on Catholics to “listen with an open heart and mind to the stories of our brothers and sisters who have experienced racism,” and he asked his priests to “listen to the stories of people within their own parishes and learn from them.” 

Friday, September 6, 2019, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM 

Spirit and Truth - Pre-Women's Conference Event at St John Vianney, Round Rock – no charge 

Saturday, September 7, 2019, 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM 

Diocesan Women's Conference at St William, Round Rock 


Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM 

Marriage and Family WEBINAR 

This is a series of webinars covered different topics of theology of the body. 


Saturday, September 21, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM    

Mary's Encounter 

Mary's Encounter, a quarterly retreat for women, will be held Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Schoenstatt. Women are invited to spend the morning learning how to live the Mass in their daily lives. Schoenstatt Father Christian Christensen will present. The cost is $10 at the door. Bring missalette or magnificat to follow the order of the Mass. Register: 


Saturday, September 28, 2019, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM 

Parish Vocation Promoters' Workshop 

This workshop hosted by the Vocations Office where Fr. Jonathan Raia (Vocation Director) and Rhonda Gruenewald (author of Hundredfold) will guide you through initiatives and ideas on how you can help nurture a culture of vocations in our parish. 


Saturday, October 5, 2019, 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM 

Middle School Rally 

The diocesan annual Middle School Rally is an opportunity for youth in grades 6-8 from across the diocese to come together in a conference format for a fun day of  dynamic keynote presentations, prayer, sharing in fellowship  and attending workshops that  help them grow in faith.  For more information, please contact Tressi Breecher: (512) 949-2464. 


Monday, October 14, 2019, 5:30 PM 

Feed My Faith with Fr. Leo Patalinghug 

Feed My Faith with Father Leo Patalinghug will be held Oct. 14 at St. Martin de Porres Parish in Dripping Springs. Mass will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m. Then from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in St. Dymphna Parish Hall, Father Patalinghug, a chef and evangelist, will discuss how Catholics can feed their faith and crave to learn more about the Eucharist. The cost is $20 for adults and $15 for youth. Register at 


Saturday, October 19, 2019, 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM 

One Day Retreat - Cedarbrake on the Road - St. Albert the Great 

The Listening to the Voice of God Retreat will be at St. Albert the Great Parish in Austin on Oct. 19. 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 $40 and includes lunch. 


SATURDAY OCTOBER 19 @ 10:30AM       
Parish Registration forms will be available soon at


DRE Deanery Meetings 

Paul writes, “We were baptized into one body in a single Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13). But this one body has many parts. Together we are Christ’s body, each of us with a part to play in the whole (see 1 Corinthians 12:27). Let’s be grateful for our limited but real part in the body. 

Our deaneries, like our Church, are strongest when all parts of the body are present. Each DRE has a unique gift, without which the deanery leadership team is not complete. Our goal is 100% participation next gathering – please mark your calendars!! If you have questions regarding deanery representatives or meetings, contact Carolyn Martinez at (512) 949-2461.

Oct 14   4:30pm   
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Hall, Temple  

Oct 15   6:00pm   
St Louis, Waco    

N. Austin/Round Rock/Georgetown:
 Oct 17 10 am
St. Louis, Austin  

Lampasas/Marble Falls:  
Sept 20 9:30 am,
Holy Trinity, Llano 

San Marcos: 
Sept 26 10 am,
St Martin de Porres, Dripping Springs 

Oct 18 6:30 pm 
IMH, Martindale 

Austin South/Central: 
Sept 12 10:30 am   
St John Neumann, Austin 

Sept 30 10 am
St Anthony, Bryan   

Adult Formators Meeting
Those serving in parishes as coordinators of adult formation, evangelization efforts, scripture studies, or RCIA are invited to join the next networking and information sharing session at St. William in Round Rock on Thursday, September 12th from 1-3pm.   

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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