Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fr. Chuck's Column, Sunday, February 12

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Bishop Joe Vásquez has appointed Deacon Billy Atkins to St. Austin Parish. Rev. Mr. Atkins is a Diocesan Permanent Deacon. Not only is he new on the parish staff, but his position is new for St. Austin as well. Below is an introduction from him.     I look forward to working with him in serving this parish community, and I trust you will make him feel at home here.

God bless!

Hello St. Austin! My name is Billy Atkins, and effective February 5 I’ve been blessed to be assigned to this impressive parish community as a permanent Deacon. Things seem to be moving so fast that just when I start to get sad about leaving my old parish, I learn of some activity at St. Austin that sparks my interest and excitement. Just as I start to feel anxious about leaving a community I’ve known for 20 or so years, I meet a bunch of warm, friendly and welcoming folks at St. Austin who make me feel right at home.Until we get a chance to meet personally, Fr. Chuck suggested that I tell you a little bit about myself, my family and my ministry as a permanent Deacon.

I was born in a far away, distant land called Odessa. I have three brothers, one sister, a pack of nieces and nephews, and even a brand new great-niece. My parents are both deceased. I originally came to Austin almost thirty years ago to go to school and work at the Capitol.

My wife, Myra Leo, and I will have been married for 10 years this September. Myra comes from a small ranching community in South Texas. She has two sisters, two brothers and a slew of nieces and nephews. Myra also came to Austin to go to school and work at the Capitol. One interesting note: while she was going to U.T., she lived in Newman Hall.

Myra works for a law firm, K&L Gates, as a Government Affairs Advisor, and I work for the City of Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Although we don’t have any children of our own, Myra’s younger sister and her husband live in Austin and have two boys, Ben and Nicholas. We’re so fond of those two boys that many people have said that instead of a doting aunt and uncle we act more like a pair of obsessive grandparents. Also, we have a number of God-children that we adore.

On February 6, 2010, after five years of discernment and formation, I was ordained by Archbishop Gregory Aymond to the office of permanent Deacon for the Diocese of Austin.  My first assignment was to my home parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in East Austin. After many, many, many months of prayer and discernment Myra and I decided to say “yes” to the call of St. Austin.

As I mentioned earlier, this transition has been one of sadness/excitement/apprehension/reassurance. Again, to the few of you that we’ve met so far, we deeply appreciate your warmth during this time of transition, and to the rest of you, we look forward to meeting you very soon.

To paraphrase a popular bumper sticker: We may not have been born at St. Austin, but we got here as quick as we could; although Myra would say this community was her first introduction to Austin way back when.

Deacon B

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