Today I thought I would give a collection of odds and ends on happenings in the parish.
Our parish school just completed a scrutiny from the Texas Catholic Conference Education Dept. (TCCED) for our accreditation by that august body. The last time this occurred was seven years ago. A team of four visitors examined the school for a week, checking into everything. A great deal of work was done in preparation by the School Advisory Board, the Faculty and Staff, Ms. Barbara Kennedy and Mr. Fred Valle, and by the students and all the school parents. Their hard work paid off. I heard the report on Friday, Oct. 3 from the head of the visiting committee, and all the marks were “exemplary,” “outstanding,” and “effective.” There were NO marks of “absent” or “needs attention.” Noticed and commented on repeatedly by the visitors was the great sense of community our school demonstrates. The whole process was a great affirmation of the wonderful school we have here at St. Austin. Way to go, Eagles!
Also on Friday, Oct. 3, the First Grade helped the school celebrate the Guardian Angels’ Mass. Each first grader dressed as an angel, complete with wings and a halo. It was a beautiful Mass. The angels were well prepared, presented a song with movement, and were so cute, as only first graders can be. You can see their cherubic faces gathered around the altar on the school’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/staustincatholicschool.
On Saturday, Oct. 4 we had another lovely event here, and that was the Blessing of the Animals on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Fr. Ed Nowak, CSP, dressed and played the part of St. Francis, Pope Francis joined us by way of a life-sized cardboard photo, and we were joined by dozens of dogs, a few cats, a lovely white rat and one miniature hamster. Music Ensemble members under the direction of Rudy Davenport led us in appropriate songs, and reps from the Austin Pet Food Bank received donations to help Onion Creek area residents and their pets still recovering from the Halloween flood last year. We also had a member of Austin Police Dept K-9 patrol and his wonderful dog, Tex. We did not, however, have any farm animals this year. We had gorgeous weather out under the shade structure on the black-top, and everyone, whether two-legged or four-legged, had a great time. Look for pictures on our parish Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/staustinparish. Thank you to everyone who worked to make this event so special!
Finally, faithful readers of our Diocesan Catholic newspaper, The Catholic Spirit, should note the prevalence of St. Austin Parish authors in the October edition. On page 17 parishioner Barbara Budde has the social justice article with the catchy title “Building a church that is inclusive and
welcoming.” Page 18 features parishioner Norman Farmer’s “A reflection on the Stigmatization of St. Francis” in the Faith Through Art series. And the following page, 19, has parishioner Mary Lou Gibson’s latest installment in the Saints For Our Time series, “St. Paul of the Cross: A contemplative,
celebrated preacher.” All three articles are worth a look. One could get the impression that our parishioners like to write!
So you see, there are always lots of things going on here, even without the major project to re-skin the church and rectory.