As we move into October, this coming week has several things going on. From noon on Mon., Oct. 1, through Thurs., Oct. 4, the priests of the Diocese of Austin will gather at the Marriott in Round Rock for the annual Priests’ Convocation. Ostensibly billed as an opportunity for continuing education, it also serves as a much-needed opportunity for the diocesan priests to relax and reconnect with each other. Spread out over the 26 counties that make up the Diocese of Austin, this is an important event for the priests to renew their friendships, and have time to relax with their brother priests. Frankly, I have not found the educational part all that worthwhile. But the Paulists do like to attend these types of events both to show our commitment to the Diocese, and to support our brother diocesan priests. This year the convocation will start early for an open discussion with the Bishop about the impact of the current clergy sexual abuse scandal. A trained and gifted facilitator will be on hand to shape the discussion and encourage open participation. Please keep the priests of the Diocese in your prayers this week, especially on Monday when this discussion about clergy sexual abuse is scheduled.
Tuesday is the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels. I know I give my guardian angel quite a workout. Guardian angels are an imaginative representation of God’s individual and particular care for each one of us. So be sure to thank your guardian angel on Tuesday.
Thursday is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. I don’t know of any Franciscans in our immediate neighborhood, but if you do come across a Franciscan this week, be sure to wish them a happy St. Francis Day. St. Francis is the patron saint of ecology and concern for creation. It would be a most fitting time to review Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. It is available on the Vatican website at www.vatican.va.
Finally, this past weekend Paulist Fr. Dat Tran was with us to preach at all Masses. He is the Paulist Director of Vocations, and he spoke, of course, on vocations. If we hope that the Paulists will remain at St Austin’s, the University Catholic Center, and St. Paul the Apostle parish in Horseshoe Bay, then we need vocations to Paulist priesthood. If you know of someone who would make a good Paulist priest, I encourage you to pray for that person and then to ask them if they have ever considered priesthood. An invitation from someone who thinks you would make a good priest, and a Paulist to boot, is very powerful. All of us are responsible for fostering vocations to the priesthood and religious life.