We have a busy week ahead of us here at St. Austin’s Parish. Every four years each Paulist foundation gets an official inspection tour from headquarters, called a “Visitation”. Just a couple of weeks ago I was on the inspection team at a Visitation of the Paulist parish in Portland, OR. And since we are a parish staffed by the Paulists, it is now our turn. The University Catholic Center and St Paul the Apostle parish in Horseshoe Bay are also on the Visitation agenda.
Two Paulist priests conduct the Visitation. In our case it is Fr Frank Desiderio, CSP. He is the “First Consulter” of the Paulists, one of the three men full time in administration of the Paulist Community. Joining him will be Fr Tom Gibbons, CSP. Tom is one of six elected “General Consulters.” (I also am one.) The Visitors will be looking at our financial reports, talking to parish staff, have a meeting with Bishop Joe Vasquez and the Vicar General of the Diocese, Bishop Danny Garcia. They will meet on Thursday evening with a group of parish leaders, have a meeting with the pastoral staff of the parish, and be available after Masses this weekend and next to hear from you. They are certainly open to hearing of problems and complaints, but also open to suggestions and even to compliments and kudos.
Since the Visitors are already coming (and on the Paulist dime) we are benefiting from this by taking advantage of their presence having Fr Frank Desiderio give us a preached mission, on “The Church of Mercy”. Fr Frank will be preaching at all the Masses this weekend, and then hold special preaching events this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening here in St. Austin Church. ALL are invited. Bring your neighbors and friend. Fr Desiderio is a very good preacher, and I hope many of you will take advantage of this special opportunity.
Fr. Tom Gibbons, the other half of the Visitation Team, was assigned here to St. Austin’s Parish as a seminarian for his “Pastoral Year”. That was five years ago. Fr Tom has expressed to me his delight in returning to St. Austin’s for this visit.
Between the preached mission Fr Desiderio is giving, and visiting three places (St. Austin, University Catholic Center and St. Paul the Apostle in Horseshoe Bay) I expect that they will be pretty busy. Please make them feel welcome. This would be a very good week to show your Paulist spirit.