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...recognizing our gifts of time, talent and treasure

Winter 2011

reflections... a newsletter from the Stewardship and Development Office

We, the Diocese of Austin, the Catholic Church of Central Texas through the Word and Eucharist, prayer, formation and education, social ministries and advocacy, embrace diverse cultures throughout the diocese so that together, as the Catholic Church, we may continue the mission of Christ in the world today.

Stewardship and Development Office Diocese of Austin 6225 Highway 290 E. Austin, TX 78723 (512) 949-2400

Most Rev. Joe S. Vásquez Bishop of Austin

Scott Whitaker Director of Stewardship and Development

Bob Vallilee Associate Director of Stewardship and Development

Jean Bondy Associate Director of Catholic School Development

Emily Powers Ender Executive Assistant

The Catholic Diocese of Austin

Through Catholic education our children learn, grow, and become successful and faithful members of society. When you choose a Catholic school education for your children, you are surrounding them with a community that shares your faith and your values. Here, your children will learn to shine — with a light that they will carry with them into the world. This is the message being conveyed in a comprehensive, three-year marketing plan currently being launched by the Diocese of Austin as part of the 2009 Strategic Plan for Catholic Schools. In partnership with Steel Advertising and Interactive we will roll out a broad-based plan over the next several months to support awareness and encourage enrollment for Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Austin. For the first time, there will be cohesive marketing to represent all Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Austin, including a logo, tagline, and messaging that support the point-ofdifference that Catholic education offers the families of Central Texas. While the initial launch of the marketing plan will concentrate on supporting enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year, efforts will continue throughout the year to raise awareness of the quality and uniqueness of Catholic education across Central Texas. Marketing strategies include public relations and social media outreach, a dedicated website for Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Austin, advertising and marketing tools for {continued on page 2} individual schools to utilize.


{continued from page 1} Today, Catholic education in the Diocese of Austin remains strong and continues to generate proven results. In the Diocese of Austin, our Catholic school graduation rate holds steady at 99%. Class of 2011 graduates were offered approximately $20,000,000 in scholarships and grants to pursue their education at the colleges and universities of their choice. In addition, through individual initiatives at each school, Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Austin provided $3.2 million in financial aid this year to ensure that a Catholic education is accessible to those who have the desire, but not the financial means, to attend. Many families are already realizing these advantages of a Catholic school education. Even in these challenging times, Catholic school enrollment is up across the diocese, bringing our total student population to 5,197 for the 2011-2012 school year. Enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year is already underway, with application due dates beginning January 2012. This growth is a reminder of the sacrifices parents make to send their children to Catholic school and the value they see in Catholic education. It is an important part of the educational mission of the Church that we continue to offer the highest quality Catholic education to all families in the communities we serve. To see the new logo, or for more information about Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Austin, visit www.csdatx.org

JANUARY 31– FEBRUARY 2 Oblate Renewal Center San Antonio, Texas

2012 ICSC/OSV

Stewardship Institute ICSC and Our Sunday Visitor are partnering on a new venture of regional Stewardship Institutes! These Institutes are perfect for both those just beginning their efforts to teach stewardship, and those with experience seeking a great refresher. In a retreat-like setting, Mass is celebrated each day to complement the nine sessions which offer key spiritual and practical components of parish stewardship.

R E G I S T E R T O D AY ! Register online at www.catholicstewardship.org

Offering Outstanding Faculty Members The Institute offers an engaging and expert faculty with years of combined experience working with parishes and dioceses in North America and beyond.

Sessions include in-depth presentations on: • The theology of Christian stewardship and its basic concepts • Practical techniques for inviting parishioners to embrace stewardship as a way of life • The parish stewardship process, stewardship days, ministry fairs and ongoing renewals • Learning the characteristics of a stewardship parish

I NTERNATIONAL C ATHOLIC S TEWARDSHIP C OUNCIL

(800) 352-3452 1275 K Street, NW, Suite 880 Washington DC 20005-4077

UPCOMING EVENTS IN 2012 . . . January 20-22 Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference (DCYC)

T H A N K YOU . . . for your ongoing support and generosity to the Our Faith ~ Our Legacy campaign. To date, more than $16 million has been returned to parishes.

diocese of austin

January 28 Celebrating Catholic Schools Event January 29 Catholic Schools Week For event information, visit www.austindiocese.org

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WINTER 2011


The Star that Leads the Way The story off the h W Wise M Men and the star of Bethlehem remains a cherished part of our Christmas celebrations, featured in everything from nativity plays to Christmas carols. Many parts of this account from Matthew’s Gospel captivate the imagination, but the Wise Men and the star also offer practical lessons for today’s faithful. One lesson is to be on our guard, a message Jesus repeats many times in the Gospels. The Jewish community of the time knew to expect a Messiah, yet the scribes and high priests evidently did not connect the appearance of the star with the coming of the Savior. Perhaps they were expecting a sign like the plagues and pillars of fire and cloud from Old Testament times, rather than a single star. Yet, in both the Old and New Testaments, God shows us that He does not work according to our expectations; His ways are not our ways (Is 55:8). To remain attentive to the small ways God may be speaking to us every day, we must maintain our sense of wonder and awe. This gift of the Holy Spirit will enable us to see God in the little miracles of our day-to-day lives and to be ready and watchful for His coming. We can also draw inspiration from the star itself, a sign so simple that it was overlooked by almost everyone, and yet so clear that it could be followed a very great distance to an unknown destination. Many Christians rightly regard Advent and Christmas as a time to witness to the truth and splendor of Christ. Keeping Jesus the focus of our own activities — above

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Christmas shopping, year-end events, and holiday stress — and treating others with humble, Christian kindness can do much not only to sooth seasonal bad tempers, but also to give witness to God’s love with the simplicity and clarity of the star. A final lesson is the reminder that salvation is open to all, not just to those who share our values, our attitudes, or even our faith. After all, it was not the scribes, high priests, political leaders, or the leaders of the community who welcomed the sign of the star as their guide to salvation. Rather, it was a handful of foreigners — outsiders — people who did not belong. All around us, especially during the holiday season, there are people who may not be at home with our faith, who may feel on the outside, who don’t belong, or who are in need of a sign. They could be a co-worker or carpool parent, a nonCatholic acquaintance, the store clerk, or even the family in the next pew. We have no way of knowing the private struggles people around us experience, or the reasons for anyone’s resistance to faith. What we do know from the story of the Wise Men is that God desires to be in relationship with each and every one of us, no matter where we come from or how we got here. Like the star of Bethlehem, we can be a guide for the lost, a sign of welcome for the outsider, and a source of light for those straining to see Truth and Life through the fog of unbelief and the glare of the world’s demands.

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Year-End Giving Checklist M A X I M I Z E Y O U R TA X B E N E F I T S The end of the year is a great time for giving. When you make a donation by December 31st to the Diocese of Austin, your parish or Catholic school, you aren’t just giving money. You are perpetuating your own values and that of the Catholic Church. By supporting the Diocese of Austin you can help secure our vision for the future — through the Word and Eucharist, prayer, formation, education, social ministries and advocacy, embracing diverse cultures throughout the diocese so that we continue the mission of Christ.

The following checklist will help you make the most of your year-end giving: TA L K T O Y O U R F I N A N C I A L A D V I S O R Before making any significant gift you should have your CPA, attorney or other advisor help you understand the impact of your gift on your income tax return and estate. DO YOUR GIVING EARLY This is especially true if you want to make a gift of non-cash assets (stocks, real estate, etc.). It also applies to life income gifts (annuities, trust arrangements, life insurance, etc.). C A L C U L AT E Y O U R I N C O M E Take time to do some planning while you still have the opportunity to make a year-end gift. Try to get a handle on your tax liability for the year. Did your unearned income increase or decrease? Did you sell any appreciated assets? Will you owe more taxes? Answering these questions may motivate you to increase your giving before December 31st. REVIEW YOUR STOCKS Look at the stocks you have held for more than a year. Which ones have appreciated the most? It may be prudent to make your year-end gift using one or more of these stocks. Here’s why: if you sell the stock and appreciate a capital gain, you can gift the stock to a charitable organization and deduct the entire amount of the value. CONSIDER A LIFE-INCOME GIFT The Diocese of Austin or your parish can offer a variety of life-income plans that fit your needs. You can make a gift now, obtain tax benefits, and receive lifetime benefits. For further information contact Scott Whitaker, Director of Stewardship and Development, at scott-whitaker@austindiocese.org, or Bob Vallilee, Associate Director, at bob-vallilee@austindiocese.org As good stewards of time and treasure, please make your year-end gifts as early in December as possible. The Diocese of Austin’s offices will be closed from December 24, 2011, through January 2, 2012. diocese of austin

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ST. CYRIL MONK

ST. METHODIUS BISHOP

FEAST DAY – FEBRUARY 14 Born in Greece and baptized Constantine and Michael, St. Cyril (827-869) and St. Methodius (815885) were brothers who went as missionaries to the Slavic people of ninth-century Moravia. Their efforts there left a lasting legacy in language and liturgy. St. Cyril’s first task was to invent an alphabet (the Cyrillic alphabet used in modern Russian) with which to translate the New Testament, the Psalms, and the liturgical texts into Slavic. Clearly “ahead of their time,” Cyril and Methodius also composed a Slavic liturgy and preached in the vernacular. These acts of enculturation were criticized by other missionaries but won them the praise of the Pope, who named them both bishops. St. Cyril was sickly and died before he could be ordained a bishop, but St. Methodius became the papal legate to the Slavic nations. In the last years of his life, he translated the whole Bible and other texts into the Slavic language. These steward saints used their intellectual and linguistic gifts to help spread the Good News throughout Eastern Europe and, in doing so, left an indelible mark on the culture of that region. Adapted from Sharon Hueckel, Steward Saints for Every Day, Copyright © 1999, the National Catholic Stewardship Council, Inc., Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

WINTER 2011


Religious R eligious Education Education on on the the Rise Rise

port, and many others, make all this possible. Most of these are unpaid people who answer their Baptismal call to serve God and to evangelize and catechize in our parishes. It is their generous donation of time and talent that assists our bishop and pastors in transmitting the faith to others through quality religious education and formation. Providing religious education also takes considerable financial resources, from the ongoing education and formation of catechists in both English and Spanish, to certification programs for catechists and leadership development for parish Directors of Religious Education (DREs). Because of the vast size of our diocese — 19,511 square miles — the diocesan Department of Religious Education and Formation faces many challenges associated with travel throughout Central Texas to offer certification classes, design and assess religious education programs and provide consultation, and offer support to all of our 125 parishes and faith communities. As the Diocese of Austin continues to grow, it is likely that parish religious education programs will grow as well. Currently, some parishes are reporting a 10% increase in religious education enrollment over last year, and enrollment numbers in one parish have reached over 2,000 religious education students. The continued generosity of families and individuals who share their time, talent, and treasure will be vital to spreading the Word of God throughout our diocese in the years to come.

Parish religious education has seen a steady increase in the Diocese of Austin over the last five years, a visible sign that the Catholic Church in Central Texas is growing and remains active in our mission to “go and make disciples” (Mt 28:19). Religious education/Catechesis covers many aspects of our faith life. The goal of Catechesis is to “make faith living, conscious, and active” (General Directory for Catechesis 17). This is accomplished through the collaboration of the family — or the “domestic church” — and the parish. Religious education begins in the home. Parents are first and foremost the educators of their children in matters of faith. Teaching your toddler the sign of the cross, praying with them at the table, and night prayer all begin the process of your children’s learning about the Catholic faith and what it means in their young lives. The value of teaching faith in the home is well documented. Studies show that children do look to their parents for guidance on faith, morals, and life decisions. The parish assists parents in this education by providing religious education from early childhood through adulthood. Parishes also provide religious education for sacramental preparation like infant Baptism and Marriage preparation, Bible studies for beginners as well as those seeking a deeper understanding of scripture, social concerns like Faithful Citizenship and mission awareness, life issues such as protecting all life and end-of-life concerns, and growing in spiritual formation. In any given year in the Diocese of Austin, between 14,000 and 26,000 catechists, youth ministers, family life directors, marriage preparation teams, campus ministry directors and their staff, adult education and formation leaders, RCIA directors and their teams, as well as aides, clerical and office sup-

diocese of austin

Dr. Geri Telepak is the Director of Religious Education and Formation for the Diocese of Austin. The Office of Religious Education and Formation is supported in part by the Catholic Services Appeal.

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NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION U.S. POSTAGE PAID AUSTIN, TEXAS PERMIT NO. 1504

Stewardship and Development Office Diocese of Austin 6225 Highway 290 E. Austin, TX 78723

RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED

L EAVING A LEGACY R E M E M B E R I N G JOE AND IDA MALINA have called St. Austin Parish in Austin “home” since their marriage in January 1965. Joe is a life-long Catholic from Brooklyn, New York. Ida, a native Texan, entered the Catholic Church in 1974 after many years of attending St. Austin with Joe. A graduate of the University of Texas College of Business, Ida has been employed at St. Austin for over 25 years and has been the Director of Stewardship and Development at St. Austin for the past 11 years. After graduating from Manhattan College, Joe earned a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. Joe has been a professor at the University of Texas in Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering since 1961.

Y O U R

C H U R C H Joe and Ida know firsthand the rich rewards of a Catholic school education. Joe attended Catholic school through college, and all five of the Malinas’ children attended St. Austin Catholic School. Three of the Malinas’ daughters graduated from St. Michael’s Catholic Academy, and four of their eight grandchildren currently attend St. Austin Catholic School.

The Malinas are very involved in ministry at St. Austin. Joe and Ida have been Eucharistic Ministers for many years and sponsored several RCIA candidates. Joe is also a lector and served on the first St. Austin Pastoral Council. Ida served on the St. Austin School Board and has also chaired various fundraising events for the school and parish. Joe and Ida contribute financially to a number of Catholic charitable causes.


Reflections Winter 2011