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Greetings from all of us in the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis! As we finish our Summer Formation Schedule we pause a moment to reflect on a very fruitful nine weeks of classes, workshops, and activities, and to thank God for the blessings received and goals accomplished. Here are some highlights:
  • Catechists, Directors, and Coordinators of Faith Formation, Catholic School Teachers, Deacon Candidates, and Youth Ministers were among the 200+ participants attending one or more of 35 different courses taught at the Pastoral Center and St. Edward’s University. Next month we will recognize 14 individuals who have completed their DRE Certification this summer. Thanks to all those who dedicated time this summer to further their own formation that they may use the knowledge and skills gained in their vocations to more effectively transmit the Gospel message to others.
  • The Spanish Leadership Series, “Discipulo Misionero” concluded June 29 with the presentation of certificates to 37 participants who attended all six workshops. This series will be repeated on Saturdays once per month beginning September 21st at St Margaret Mary Parish in Cedar Park. 
  • The “Go Make Disciples” evangelization series concluded July 13th with participants discovering how to recognize and use their charisms in service to the Body of Christ.
  • The “Summer Events with the Seminarians” Project initiated this year as a pilot project assisting the Vocations Office. Several seminarians assisted parishes with their Vacation Bible School week and/or Youth Gatherings. Photos and comments from seminarians and DREs are included in this newsletter.  We look forward to reaching more parishes next summer! May blessings to you as you compleate your summer activities and prepare for a new catechetical and school Year. 
Gustavo Rodriguez
Director of Evangelization and Catechesis

VBS with the Seminarians

Traditionally, as part of their early formation, seminarians have been assigned to serve in a parish or the diocesan offices during the summer months. This year marked a pilot project where pairs of seminarians completed a weekly rotation through several parishes to assist with their VBS program, youth activities, adult gatherings, or any other parish events scheduled for that week. We thank our Vocations Director, Fr. Jonathan Raia, for this innovative approach which gave the seminarians an opportunity to serve in a variety of parishes, the DREs and Youth Ministers a valuable resource, and children and youth a chance to get to know young men on the journey toward priesthood. Here are some highlights from a few of the parishes:

“Having the opportunity to help at VBS at many different parishes this summer has been one which has been filled with graces. One grace has been seeing the living faith of the laity of the diocese. I have met so many wonderful lay people who are a strong witness to the faith, and serve as an inspiration for me in my own journey as a seminarian. Another grace has been seeing how the children participating in VBS and summer youth camps have been touched by God. In particular, listening to teens who attended Discipleship Week with NET Ministries as well as those who attended Camp B.A.S.I.C. (Camp Brothers and Sisters in Christ) with Ablaze Ministries share their encounters with the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration have been very powerful. From VBS to summer camps, having the chance to participate in many summer youth programs in the diocese has shown me God’s love in my own life and has been a source of inspiration in my seminary journey.”  (Michael Noriega)
“What brought me the most joy was seeing the honest, joyful, and trusting faith of children. You could see it in their eyes as they sang and danced to all of the songs, and you could hear it in their voices as they shared personal examples of challenges they face or ways that God has blessed their lives. As much as I was there to help them, these children were a true blessing for my own spiritual life as well.” (Scott Fyall)
This was a very inspiring experience for the children to talk with and get to know a seminarian. Also, for Isaiah he had the chance to work with children of various ages and saw the behind the scenes of daily parish life.  I look forward to having more seminarians come in the future.  (Patricia St Amour, St Mary, Temple)
Scott and Isaiah were great, fun and a BIG help! Scott had middle schoolers, they loved him and Isiah led an active elementary group. Thank you! Fr. Michael had lunch for them with our staff every day.  (Cynthia Klaer, St Thomas More)

“A glad heart lights up the face.” (Proverbs 15:13)
St Ferdinand in Blanco has been blessed beyond measure by the joyful presence of seminarians Isaiah Minke and Andrew Scott Fyall this summer.  Excitement built as lodging and food were offered in anticipation of their arrival, and Isaiah and Scott immediately connected with parishioners as they shared their vocation stories at weekend masses.  Throughout a week of Shipwrecked! Rescued by Jesus! Vacation Bible School, God’s love was made present among us in their welcoming presence with the children and volunteers, in the Bible Discovery lessons they presented, and in both the thoughtful and the jubilant prayers they led. Scott and Isaiah served as gracious ambassadors of the larger church to our parish out on the southwestern outskirts of the diocese.  Their presence spoke a living message that the call to the priesthood of Jesus Christ is alive in our midst today.   Our prayers will be with them as they continue their studies, and we offer sincere and grateful thanks to the Vocations Office for sending these beacons of light to us.   We look forward to praying for them, and sharing in their joy moving forward. (Susan Moor St Ferdinand, Blanco)

Maryrae Stein
Associate Director of Catechesis and Formation

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 here.                                                   

Here are a few “SAVE THE DATES”:
  • On August 3rd and August 24th there are deanery-hosted Catechist Retreats. Attending a deanery retreat or the Women’s Conference on September 7th meets the retreat requirement included at each certification level. Look for details in this newsletter.
  • DRE Deanery Representatives will gather August 5th at the Schoenstatt Shrine for a Deanery Board Meeting.
  • DRE Leadership Series begins via Zoom Technology on Tuesday, Sept 10th. Classes meet from 10am-noon twice monthly. 
  • 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.
  • New Youth Minister Gathering August 20th 10am-12pm at the Pastoral Center.
Carolyn Martinez                                        
Coordinator of Catechesis

Welcome new Administrative Assistant Sue Durango to the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis!         

I have been with the Dioceses for a little bit over a year under the Stewardship and Development Secretariat and feel very blessed to have joined the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis as of July 30, 2019. Catechesis and Formation has a very special place in my heart and I hope that I can learn more about my faith in this roll and support those that share the love for our faith.

We wish to thank Yolanda Sanchez for her three years of outstanding service to our department and wish her many blessings in her new diocesan role as Coordinator of the Office of Life, Charity, and Justice.
Cedarbrake Retreat Center, Belton TX 

August 23-25 - Bearing Fruit in the Chaotic 21st Century
How and where is God calling you to make a difference in your little corner of the world? Chuck Neff, the talk-show host for “The Inner Life” on Relevant Radio will lead you into a deeper understanding of your quest for holiness. Cost for this retreat weekend is $235 for a private room, $185 per person for a shared room and $100 for commuters.Click here to register.

The School for Contemplative Living; Semester 2
Wednesday, September 11, 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM
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.).

Retiro de un día - Liturgica, 14 de septiembre
Saturday, September 14, 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM
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. Registrarse a mas tardar el 6 de septiembre.

Weekend Retreat - Becoming an Ordinary Mystic: Spirituality for the Rest of Us September 20-22, 2019
Friday, September 20, 7:00 PM - 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. Cost is $235 for a single room, $185 per person for a shared room, and $100 for commuters.
Eagle's Wing Retreat Center Burnet,TX

December 7-8 - Confirmation Retreat - "I Believe"
This retreat is designed for smaller parishes or those individuals who may be unable to attend their parish Confirmation retreat. This retreat will be conducted by Deacon Curt Haffner, Kat Guenther, and Jeremy Rodgriguez.  Registration opens June 1, 2019. Click here to register. 

January 18-20, 2020 - TEC - Together Encountering Christ Retreat
TEC starts as a three-day retreat centered on the Paschal Mystery of Jesus and then welcomes you into a greater community focused on living our Catholic-Christian faith daily. Sponsored by the Diocese of Austin, TEC of Central Texas is a weekend of prayer, reflections/talks, group discussions, personal reflections, recreation, live music, and activities. Sharing, getting to know those around you and participation activities are important aspects of the weekend. Click here for more information.

February 15-16, 2020 - Confirmation Retreat - "Fruits of the Spirit"
This retreat is designed for smaller parishes or those individuals who may be unable to attend their parish Confirmation retreat. This retreat will be conducted by STRONG team, a student organization based out of the University Catholic Center at UT-Austin. Registration opens following the November 2019 Confirmation Retreat. 

SAVE THE DATE - Eagle's Wings 15th Year Anniversary of Godstock!  
Godstock 2020 - April 18-19, 2020
Stay Connected!

*Diocesan DRE Deanery Representatives: Deanery representatives provide support among catechetical leaders within their deanery; provide mentoring for new DREs; facilitate communication between parishes and the Diocese; set dates for deanery meetings and send out reminders; encourage attendance from deanery parishes to participate in meetings; and much more! If you have questions regarding deanery representatives or meetings, contact Carolyn Martinez at (512) 949-2461.
Austin South / Central
Christie McGee, St. John Neumann, Austin
Jason Drummond, St. Mary Cathedral, Austin
Diocesan Liaison - Gustavo Rodriguez 
& Maryrae Stein
  • Sept. 12 10 a.m.-12 p.m. - St John Neumann, Austin 
  • Nov. 7 a.m.-12 p.m. - St John Neumann, Austin 
Brenham / LaGrange &
Bryan / College Station

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

Dcn. Michael Beauvais, St. Anthony, Bryan
Lisa Storemski, St. Joseph, Bryan
Diocesan Liaison - Carolyn Martinez
  • Aug. 12, 10 a.m. - St. Mary, Caldwell
Marble Falls / Lampasas
Amy Corley, St. John the Evangelist Parish, Marble Falls
Gina Moore, Holy Trinity, Llano
Diocesan Liaison - 
Carolyn Martinez
  • Aug. 16, 10 a.m. - Good Shepherd, Lometa
Bastrop / Lockhart
Deborah Esquivel, Ascension Parish, Bastrop
Diocesan Liaison - Carolyn Martinez
  • Next meeting date pending
San Marcos
Betty De Leon, St. John, San Marcos
VanNostrand, St. Martin de Porres, Dripping Springs
Diocesan Liaison - Carolyn Martinez
  • Aug. 3, Deanery Retreat - St. Martin de Porres, Dripping Springs
Austin North / Georgetown / Round Rock
Karen Kurtin, Santa Rosa, Andice
Diocesan Liaison - Gustavo Rodriguez & Maryrae Stein
  • Aug. 15, 8:30 a.m. - Mass and meeting - St. Thomas More, Austin
  • Aug. 24, Deanery Retreat - RE Roundup - St. Albert the Great, Austin
  • Oct. 17, 10:00 a.m.- - Deanery meeting - St. Louis, Austin
Temple / Killeen
Sonia Vega Perez, St. Monica, Cameron
Linda Lorenz, Church of the Visitation, Westphalia
Diocesan Liaison - Maryrae Stein
  • Aug. 13, 3:00 p.m. - Deanery Meeting St.Luke's Temple
Rosie Escobedo, St. Francis of the Brazos, Waco
Zulma Diaz-Rosa, St. Louis, Waco
Diocesan Liaison - Maryrae Stein
  • Oct 15 6pm - St.Louis, Waco
Gustavo Rodriguez, Director
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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