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Happy Feast of Corpus Christi


As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), we are reminded that Christ is among us and truly present in Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.  We are fortunate to have the opportunity to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist.  In doing so, we become the Eucharist for others.  We become the hands and feet of Christ for others and share his love and compassion.  In these days of so much uncertainty and unrest, let us redirect our focus on finding the face of Christ in others. 

This newsletter will feature information that can be of help to your formation programs.  We have included a statement from Bishop Vasquez on the death of George Floyd.  Below are links to resources from the USCCB on racism and a link to the recent prayer service for peace and racial harmony.

In addition, we have included a link to the temporary protocols for first communion and a link to the Office of Youth, Young Adults, and Campus Ministry newsletter.  Next month, all DRE’s and Youth Ministers are invited to participate in an Ethics and Integrity in Ministry Zoom meeting. This meeting will address new policies regarding the use of digital media. 

The Office of Evangelization & Catechesis and Office of Youth, Young Adults & Campus Ministry will continue to find and develop additional resources to help in the upcoming catechetical year.  Contact any member of our offices if you have any questions or need any assistance.   


Gustavo Rodriguez
Director of Evangelization and Catechesis
Statement From Bishop Vasquez on the death of George Floyd
 
On May 30, I issued this statement in regard to the death of George Floyd: "I join Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and my brother bishops throughout the country in praying for the repose of the soul of Mr. George Floyd, and those who have lost their lives as he did. Many communities around the nation, marginalized because of race or ethnicity, are expressing understandable frustration and anger at these recent events. The distress caused by this unjust and sinful act, and so many others like it, serves as a constant reminder that we must do more to point out how these actions contradict the Gospel of Life. We must continue to pray for and help all people arrive at a deep individual conversion of heart that will cultivate positive change and reform of our institutions and society. Holding fast to our faith in Christ, who broke down the dividing wall of hostility and division between people, let us join together and pray for the families of those who have suffered or have been affected by violence, hatred and oppression." (The full statement of the U.S. Bishops can be found here.)

Black Ministry, Hispanic Ministry, and Social Concerns join Bishop Vásquez in the call to prayer for the healing of divisions. The multiracial makeup of communities protesting peacefully is an expression of the solidarity people feel; it expresses that no one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that continue to grip our society. Father James Misko lead a prayer service to memorialize and pray for victims of violence, peace in our communities, and an end to racial injustice. This service was livestreamed from Holy Cross Parish in Austin on June 9 at 6 p.m. Please click on the link below to view the recording and worship aid. 
 
Prayer for Peace and Racial Harmony
 
Additional Resources


Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love - Pastoral Letter against racism 

Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love - Study Guide

USCCB Website on Combatting Racism
 
 

WEBINARS FROM THE NATIONAL BLACK CATHOLIC CONGRESS 

As part of their 2020 webinar series, The National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC) will be hosting the following webinars this summer: 

June 17, 2020
The Grieving Journey: Conversations of the Heart and Soul
Ms. Lisa Connors, LCPC, NCC, BCC, ABD

July 8, 2020
Young Adults as the Present Presence of the Church
Ms. LaSheka Beaman Morris and Panel

August 2, 2020
What's Our Story: Multi-Panel Presentations
Lauren Morton & Various Panels

For more information on the webinars visit the NBCC website linked here. You can also find recordings of past webinars, inlcuding one from Fr. Josh Johnson (keynote speaker at DCYC 2020), about prioritizing prayer in difficult times!

Temporary Protocol for First Communions English


Temporary Protocol for First Communions Spanish

Ethics and Integrity in Ministry Updates for Digital Ministry  
 

Parish directors of religious education and youth ministers in the Diocese of Austin are invited to a Zoom conversation regarding fall 2020 EIM updates for digital and online parish ministry with young people. Emily Hurlimann, Associate Director of EIM, will join us, as well as staff of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis and the Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry. The three sessions will be focused on either the religious education setting, or the youth ministry setting and will be held at the following dates and times:  

 

·       July 13 at 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. (DREs) Zoom Link 

·       July 15 at 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. (YMs) Zoom Link 

·       July 16 at 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. (DREs) Zoom Link  

 

Please RSVP here by July 6. On the RSVP form, you may also let us know any digital ministry or general EIM questions you have in advance and we will include the answers in our conversation.  

 INVITE SEMINARIANS TO ASSIST WITH SUMMER PROGRAMS!

 This summer we will have seven (7) seminarians available to travel the diocese and help with:
   
      -Vacation Bible School
      -Youth/young adult events
      -Vocation promotion events like a Holy Hour for Vocations

We know that many parishes have canceled VBS and other events because of COVID, so please know that the seminarians are available to help you feed your people spiritually this summer. Don’t be afraid to be creative in your request; the men are eager to get out and get to know the diocese and help however they can! We look forward to hearing from you and working with you to foster a culture of vocations in our diocese despite these difficult times.
 
You can find more information and a short survey here. NOTE: It is VERY IMPORTANT that you speak to your pastor BEFORE you submit a request for seminarians! 

VBS UPDATES
Vacation Bible School has become a favorite summer activity for many parishes, and an opportunity to evangelize families. In this year of the pandemic, parishes wishing to offer VBS have several options: a totally virtual experience, a blended program, or an in-person gathering that complies with the distancing, hygiene, and screening protocols. Here are some great options for online designs: 

The Catholic Brain offers a virtual VBS in conjunction with Brother Francis Media that invites kids to learn about our Incredible Savior. Available as a family or a parish subscription. Information and previews here. 

Cat.Chat has 6 different rock-solid Catholic VBS programs to choose from that can be adapted to provide online. Check them out here

Our Sunday Visitor Catholic VBS has developed a Catholic -specific at-home adaptation for Rocky Railway VBS. More information at the website: vbs.osv.com. 

The Pastoral Center offers guidance on offering VBS in consideration of Covid-19 along with several VBS programs:  https://pastoral.center/vacation-bible-school  

IN-PERSON VBS Gatherings should comply with regulations established by the Texas Governor’s Covid-19 Strikeforce for worship spaces, day camps, and summer schools. Those links are provided below. If your parish would like to offer VBS, you are required to have a plan in place should a staff member or participant become ill. Here are some considerations for directing VBS drawn from the guidelines:

Staff must be trained in cleaning, hygiene, distancing protocols, and the symptoms of COVID-19. They must be screened daily for symptoms or possible exposures. The staff wears masks. Carries hand sanitizer.
Group children so 6ft of space is between them and others. Mark the floor with tape. Space groups 30ft apart and keep group members the same all week. The classroom limit is 11 individuals (includes leader).

Most VBS programs have activity areas that children rotate through. For example:
Bible Story area – pre-mark listening spots to maintain distancing sanitize floor or chair after each group
Crafts – no shared supplies; each student should have their own set of supplies in a marked Ziplock to use each day; tables and chairs sanitized between groups
Games – modify to avoid shared objects; sanitize equipment and area between groups; do outside!
Snack – no buffet or family-style snacks; disposable plates/cups; sanitize hands
before and after
Music and Skits – usually done at the beginning and end. Pre-mark participant and group areas.  
During transitions, traffic flow will need to be designed to minimize crowding or bunching at doorways. Allow more time and be creative. Bathrooms must be monitored and cleaned at regular intervals. Parent drop off and pick up will take longer than usual, as it must be coordinated to maintain proper distancing. Parents should wear masks.   Please review these websites prior to planning:
GUIDELINES FOR YOUTH CAMPS
GUIDELINES FOR CHURCHES
GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOL SUMMER PROGRAMS


RESOURCE LINKS for the SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST (June 14, 2020)
Sunday Connection from Loyola Press 
The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist: Questions and Answers (USCCB) 
An explanation for all ages from Busted Halo
Watch the 1st Annual Children's Corpus Christi Procession from St Mary Cathedral

Maryrae Stein
Assoc. Director for Catechesis & Formation 

 
 

 Summer is Here!  

 It’s mid-June and the 100° temperatures remind us that summer is definitely here! Usually by this time, DREs are wrapping up the year and are in full planning mode for the fall. The tasks of reassigning classrooms, convincing a catechist to promote to a higher grade level, and recruiting new team members are just some of the norms on the to-do list.

However, we currently find ourselves trying to reschedule the canceled First Communions or Confirmations due to COVID-19. Along with that is the strategic planning to provide the best formation opportunities in the fall while adhering to the guidelines for social distancing.

We are adjusting to the current needs and this requires a shift in focus. Considering our current circumstances, time limitations, and the many demands to be creative require us to reevaluate planning. This is the same for our summer class offering. We have adjusted our July class schedule by reducing the number of classes that will be offered. This shifts the focus from certification to allow you more time to participate in other virtual opportunities like those from our publishers, deanery meetings and other online opportunities.

The summer Basic Teachings classes have been canceled; however, we had an overwhelming response to the April sessions that were offered for free in both English and Spanish. If you were hoping to take the course to complete your DRE certification but no longer being offered in July, please reach out to Carolyn for an alternate plan.

We want to thank you for focusing on providing the best possible formation programs to your parish families with your creativity and love for the faith. Please see below for the complete June and July class offering for English and Spanish. Registration for all classes is now open. 


JUNE SCHEDULE BELOW

Catholic Adult Formation 16-hour Courses in English

 
June 15-18, 2020 (M-Th) New Testament/Christology 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
June 22-25, 2020 (M-Th) Sacramental Theology 9:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.

Effective Catechetical Leadership Classes in English
 
June 4, 2020 (Thur) Called by Name 6:30-9:30 p.m.
June 11, 2020 (Thur) Catechetical Leadership 6:30-9:30 p.m.
June 18, 2020 (Thur) Developing Disciples of Christ 6:30-9:30 p.m.
June 25, 2020 (Thur) Cultivating Your Catechists 6:30-9:30 p.m.
 
 Classes in Spanish

 
June 9, 2020 (Tues) Catechesis & the Law (Spanish Part 1) 7-9 p.m.
June 23, 2020 (Tues) Catechesis & the Law (Spanish Part 2) 7-9 p.m.
June 20, 2020 (Sat) Chaste Living /TOB (Spanish) 10 a.m. - noon
June 27, 2020 (Sat) Chaste Living /TOB (Spanish) 10 a.m. - noon


To register for June English classes, visit:   https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=9p7hde 

To register for June Spanish classes, visit: https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=XxwjyJ

 

 JULY  CLASSES - REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

ENGLISH CLASSES
June 30, 2020 (Tues) Principles of Adult Formation 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 
July 6, 2020 (Mon) Methodology of Theology of the Body 1:30-4 p.m.
July 6-9, 2020 (M-Th) Catechesis of Human Love FAMILY LIFE 
July 20-21, 2020 (M-Tues) Building Intercultural Competence in Ministry 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 
July 22, 2020 (Wed) National Directory for Catechesis  9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 
July 29, 2020 (Wed) New Evangelization & Catechesis 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 

To register for the July English classes, visit:  https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=T9Tfrb

SPANISH CLASSES 
July 10, 2020 (Fri) Building Intercultural Competence in  Ministry  (Spanish Part 1) 6:30-9:30 p.m.
July 11, 2020 (Sat) Building Intercultural Competence in Ministry (Spanish Part 2) 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
July 14, 2020 (Tues) Principles of Adult Formation (Spanish   Part 1) 7-9 p.m.
July 28, 2020 (Tues) Principles of Adult Formation (Spanish   Part 2) 7-9 p.m.
July 10, 2020 (Fri) Building Intercultural Competence in  Ministry  (Spanish Part 1) 6:30-9:30 p.m.
July 11, 2020 (Sat) Building Intercultural Competence in Ministry (Spanish Part 2) 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

 
To register for the July Spanish classes, visit:  
https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=u3EsiM


Carolyn Martinez

Coordinator of Catechesis 

 
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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