Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Fr. Chuck's Column, July 28, 2019

In our church there are several shrines or “side altars.” These altars were built for the pre-Vatican II church, when every priest had to say his own Mass every day and there was no concelebration. The side altars served for multiple priests to say their individual Masses simultaneously. They would speak the prayers in a soft voice, or “sotto voce,” while at the same time the public Mass might be occurring at the main altar. There are five side altars in our church at the shrines of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Mary, St. Joseph, and St. Augstine of Canterbury (a.k.a St. Austin). You can notice indentations in the walls, where the cruets (small pitchers for the water and wine) and other Mass equipment was set.
When the Paulists had several priests and missionaries and the Newman Center (now the University Catholic Center) staff stationed, it is possible that most of these would be in use simultaneously, especially early in the morning. Since the rules on fasting before Holy Communion required no eating or drinking from the midnight before, early morning Masses were most popular, even with priests. Vatican II allowed and encouraged “concelebration,” when several priests partake of celebrating Mass together. Also, the rules of fasting were greatly eased, and so there is not the need get Mass done first thing in the morning in order to get to your morning coffee!
I will write an occasional series in this column on the side altar shrines in our church. But let us start with St. Joseph. His side altar is near the side door or “the Deacon’s door.” Joseph was the husband of Mary and Jesus’ foster-father. He plays a prominent role in the stories of the birth of Jesus, especially in the Gospel of Matthew, where he is shown as a man clearly in touch with God. Like his namesake in the Book of Genesis, Joseph, is in touch with God’s Will through his dreams.
Joseph is depicted holding a square and a mallet, tools of a carpenter. The correct translation of Joseph’s profession in the Bible, so I am told, is actually a “builder” rather than a “carpenter.” Since wood was scarce in Palestine, he probably worked more with stone and earthen bricks than with wood.
In the current configuration of lighting, St. Joseph’s face is in shadow, while his feet are well lit. Eventually, with time and money, we hope to rectify this situation when we upgrade our lighting. It is appropriate that St. Joseph be near one of the entryways of our church, since in his life St. Joseph helped Jesus to enter into this life, kept Him safe, and gave Him to us.

Fr. Chuck's Column, July 21, 2019

Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of St Mary Magdalene. Poor Mary has had quite a checkered career of various interpretations over the years, from a disciple of Jesus, to a reformed prostitute, to having seven devils driven out of her, to a favored disciple who had secret knowledge from Jesus that the Apostles did not receive, to the first Christian missionary, the first person to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus. The last is one of the oldest and best interpretations of St. Mary Magdalene and comes from Pope St. Gregory the Great. Here is part of his sermon on St. Mary Magdalene:

From a homily on the Gospels
by St. Gregory the Great, Pope
When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: The disciples went back home, and it adds: but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb.
We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tells us: Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.
At first she sought but did not find, but when she persevered it happened that she found what she was looking for. When our desires are not satisfied, they grow stronger, and becoming stronger they take hold of their object. Holy desires likewise grow with anticipation, and if they do not grow they are not really desires. Anyone who succeeds in attaining the truth has burned with such a great love. As David says: My soul has thirsted for the living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God? And so also in the Song of Songs the Church says: I was wounded by love; and again: My soul is melted with love.
Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek? She is asked why she is sorrowing so that her desire might be strengthened; for when she mentions whom she is seeking, her love is kindled all the more ardently.
Jesus says to her: Mary. Jesus is not recognized when he calls her “woman;” so he calls her by name, as though he were saying: Recognize me as I recognize you; for I do not know you as I know others; I know you as yourself. And so Mary, once addressed by name, recognizes who is speaking. She immediately calls him rabboni, that is to say, teacher, because the one whom she sought outwardly was the one who inwardly taught her to keep on searching.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Homily Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time Cycle C July 14, 2019

Homily Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time   Cycle C             July 14, 2019

In the Gospel we just heard Jesus gets a question:  “Who is my neighbor?”  That seem like a simple and straight-forward question.  But in the hands of Jesus, it becomes expanded, and certainly more challenging.

Because who is your neighbor determines what your ethical responsibility to them should be.  Anyone who is your neighbor you should treat, well, neighborly. 

So what do you say?  Who is my neighbor?  Who is your neighbor?  Is everyone here in church today your neighbor?   YES!   That was pretty easy and simple.

How about those Baptists praying up the street at the University Baptist Church?   Are they our neighbors?   YES.

Well, how about the Jews across from our gym at Hillel, and the Moslems at the Nueces Street Mosque?   Are they our neighbors?  Yes indeed!

Well, certainly those Vatican I Latin Catholics at the Cathedral, they are not our neighbors, are they?   Oh yes they are!

What about the street people out on Guadalupe Street, or those down at the ARCH, or those locked up at Del Valle Travis County Jail?   Are they our neighbors?   Yes.

What about the children and the immigrant refugees locked up in Clinton, TX, and in El Paso, Brownsville, McAllen, and all along the border?  Are they also our neighbors?   You bet!

Jesus answers the question of who is my neighbor NOT by listing categories of people.  Such categories mean little to Him.  

Jesus answers the question of “Who is my neighbor?” instead by speaking of compassion and service.  Jesus tells us our neighbor is everyone who needs compassion and service.  EVERYONE who needs compassion and service. 

Then Jesus challenges and commands us:  “Go and do likewise.”

Now we just have to go and do it.      AMEN

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Fr. Chuck's Column, July 7, 2019

One year ago, in the July 8, 2018 bulletin, Fr. Chuck
wrote on the dire situation of refugees and migrants
fleeing their homes and how we should respond to
this tragedy.
The humanitarian crisis at the southern US border
continues, and Bishop Joe Vásquez asks us to continue
to keep this issue in the forefront of our minds and
our faith. Bishop Vásquez serves as the Chairman of the USCCB
Committee on Migration, and he says, “our people are fearful
and need to know that the Church accompanies them and that we
will support, pray and speak on their behalf.”
Here is a call to action and understanding from Fr. Chuck’s July
8, 2018 column:
How are we to respond to this tragic and complicated situation,
when partisans on both sides make outrageous statements and
substitute emotion and ranting for clear thought and civil discourse?
I suggest the following actions:
1) Pray. Pray for enlightenment by the Holy Spirit. Pray for a
spirit of wisdom, understanding and courage. Pray that your motivations
not be based on fear or prejudice either way, but on the
truth and compassion that come from God. Pray for our Bishops,
to be forthright and honest, especially for our Bishop, Joe
Vasquez, who is the chair of the US Catholic Bishops’ Committee
on Migrants and Refugees.
2) Get informed as a Catholic. Many news outlets want to tell you
their version of the truth. But as Catholics we need to know our
stance in all this. Go to the US Catholic Bishop’s website,, and their website on immigration, There is lots of information there.
3) Get involved. Let your elected officials know that you stand
with the US Catholic Bishops on these issues. Urge the politicians
and law makers to do the right thing. Vote. Voting is not only a
privilege but an obligation.
4) Donate. People are in real need. In spite of all the money our
government is spending in the detention camps – and it is a lot –
there are many unmet needs. A list of Catholic organizations (who
are doing great work) to which you can donate are listed on the
Social Justice page of this bulletin.
5) Keep a positive attitude. We rely not just on political forces,
but the Holy Spirit. We do not have the luxury of hopelessness
and despair. We have heard Good News, and we are convinced
that ultimately, despite whatever setbacks we now experience,
that Truth and Goodness have already conquered evil in the death
and resurrection of Jesus.

Fr. Chuck's Column, June 30, 2019

This weekend we celebrate the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. I hope you like green because we will be in Ordinary Time from now until we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King on November 24. We can settle down and be ordinary in the meantime.
Let’s look at some ordinary things, specifically about receiving Holy Communion. Most people do this pretty well; it is not complicated. The Church suggests we commune in a way that shows we are a community, and this begins even as we approach the Sacrament. If there is a Communion Song, as we usually have here at most of our weekend Masses (except the 7:30 a.m.), we are encouraged to sing. The General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM) # 86 states of the Communion Song, “its purpose being to express the spiritual union of the communicants by means of the unity of their voices, to show gladness of heart, and to bring out more clearly the communitarian character of the procession to receive the Eucharist.”
Communicants are encouraged to stop at the head of the line and make a slight bow as a sign of reverence, then proceed up to the priest, deacon, or Eucharistic minister to receive the host. I encourage you to look at the minister. Since we are celebrating the Body of Christ, it is important to recognize the Body of Christ in its several manifestations, including the person ministering the Eucharist. I encourage you to open your eyes and look at them. This inter-personal, eye-to-eye contact is not a distraction but rather an import or recognizing the full Body of Christ.
In the fourth century Saint Cyril of Jerusalem taught new Christians to “make your hands a throne for the Lord.” Place your dominant (that is, your right if you are right-handed) under the other hand and hold them up to receive the host. The minister states “Body of Christ,” and you respond with an affirming “Amen.” I urge you to hold your hands up, especially if you are young or short. Bending over constantly to reach your hands is hard on us senior folk. Also, do not be afraid to come close to the minister.
The more recent innovation of receiving the sacred host on the tongue is permitted ,ut in that case please be sure to OPEN your mouth and extend your tongue. Sometimes people hardly open their mouth, and it is tricky to get the host into their mouth. Be kind to the minister and open wide.
Because the emphasis in receiving is on the “communitarian” character of receiving, we strongly discourage kneeling to receive Holy Communion. While kneeling is an appropriate individual or personal posture of reverence and prayer, it detracts from the “communitarian” nature of the reception of Holy Communion and places emphasis on the individual’s stance. It is also a bit risky if the person in line behind does not pay attention and walks into you if you kneel. You have a wonderful opportunity to kneel and pray upon returning to your pew.

Fr. Chuck's Column, June 23, 2019

Every year, through the auspices of the Missionary Coop Plan, we host a missionary to share with us some of the mission work of the church, and also to request our prayers and financial support. This year we host Fr. Talipope Vaifale of the Missionaries of Faith (MF).
A relatively new Order, the Missionaries of Faith were founded 35 years ago by an Italian Third Order woman, Anna Maria Andreani, and an Italian priest, Fr. Luigi Duilio Graziotti. The impetus toward founding this congregation began following Anna Maria Andreani’s appalling encounters with some priests in crisis. Something urged her to help priests in difficulty. Today the Missionaries of Faith have 214 priests around the world in their Order, many in India, Africa and Viet Nam. They also staff the parish of Sacred Heart in Waco, TX.
Please support their work with your prayers and your donations.
Unfortunately, I will not be here to hear them, as I will be attending the 98th BD party for my Dad, Charlie Kullmann, in St. Louis

Fr. Chuck's Column, June 16, 2019

Happy Father’s Day to all Fathers, God Fathers and Father Figures! Your service is difficult but essential. Thank you, and may God, the Father of us all, bless you abundantly.
Today we also celebrate Holy Trinity Sunday. The Doctrine of the Trinity teaches us we will never have God figured out and captured in our human concepts. God is always beyond all our imagining, and that incomprehensibility of God is a great blessing. We will never exhaust the mystery of God.
In addition, I would like to bring you up to date on some of the continuing work to accomplish a mixed-use development on our property. While it has been quiet, much work has been going on.
There was a successful meeting on April 23 with parish and school staffs to get input on the needs and desires of what our new facilities would contain and look like. A similar meeting was conducted with about 30 school and parish leaders on Saturday May 4. William Gay, Mario Espinoza and Kelly Bodu Tarrant lead these meetings, which were helpful in establishing some priorities of what we need and want in a new building.
Our original statement of need was for 100,000 square feet of space for the parish/school (our portion of the building). Over the revi-sions from the developer that shrunk to 92,000. We objected, more work was done, and our portion is now 107,000 square feet. These are very basic floor plans that do not even show all door and window openings but show concepts that could work. As we move forward and the design for our spaces becomes more refined, we expect to have more opportunities for feedback.
A great deal of legal work has been done by parishioner Christopher Bell, who is on the Development Committee. We have engaged a top-notch land use attorney, Rick Reed, who is also a member of our community. Several drafts have gone back and forth on a pre-closing agreement, and we have settled on an “access and confidentiality agreement,” which is one of the first of many pieces of legal paperwork we will need. We are preparing for the developer, Greystar, to be able to do the title search, survey, and other due diligence on our site. We anticipate that occurring soon.
At a preliminary meeting with the Diocesan Finance Council on May 14, we realized that they needed more information, and we are now responding to them. We are now getting everyone on the same page and expect a positive result from their meeting on August 1. Mean-while, the Diocese has engaged two experts to deliver an objective opinion on the terms of the deal. Their assessments will form part of a package that will be sent to the Vatican later this year. Given the size of this agreement, it does require Vatican approval. Also, we have been in consultation with the Diocese of Austin about the financing of our portion of the project. While the bill for our new facilities will come due on completion, the income we receive from the ground rent to pay for our new buildings will come in over time. It will take about 40 years or so of ground lease payments to fully pay off the buildings and the cost of borrowing. The Diocese of Austin is working with us to arrange that loan.
Negotiations have continued and are progressing well with San Jose Parish off of Oltorf Street. That is where we plan to move the school during the time of demolition and construction on our site. They have everything we need and are anxious to have us join them for the duration of our pilgrimage off of our site.
Because we are not experts in this construction and development arena, we have hired a top-notch firm, American Realty Property Man-agement, to be our owner’s representative. Already their expertise has foreseen some problems and saved us time and money. I anticipate that they will be doing a lot more of that.
So there has been a lot of work going on. There is still much more to do. Please keep praying for all the people working on this project. It is humongous. Thank God we have so many very talented and extremely dedicated parishioners. More as things develop.

Fr. Chuck's Column, June 2, 2019

First of all, I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to the 100+ parishioners who have generously responded to the Encountering Christ capital campaign. St. Austin is an integral part of the Diocese of Austin, and we can be strong only as long as the Diocese is healthy and vibrant. We are all connected together in our mission as members of the Body of Christ, and our active participation in this campaign makes real and effective our position in the Diocese of Austin. THANK YOU!!!
Secondly, I come to you today asking for a BIG FAVOR. It is not only important that we raise money but that we have a high level of active participation. So I am asking every family or individual to please make a response to the Encountering Christ Campaign. It is TREMENDOUSLY helpful to our parish to have your response, REGARDLESS of how big or small your response. If you can pledge only $5 a year, please do so. If you can offer your prayers only, please do so. If you don’t want to give anything, please respond anyway.
We have a LOT going on right now in our parish and school. I really want to wrap up this Encountering Christ Campaign in a timely matter so that we can continue to focus on other projects. Some parishes that have not been responding may be required to have a YEARLONG CAMPAIGN. We can avoid that simply by getting a response from all of our parishioners.
If you are not able or are unwilling to give at this time, I still want your response. Once we have your response, the Diocese will stop sending you robocalls and letters, and we will stop sending you email reminders to make your pledge. So making a response will save you aggravation and save us work and money.
To make a response, regardless of the size, please take a pledge card from the folder in the pew, fill it out, and drop it in any collection basket here. We will get it to the right place. Or drop it at the church office or mail it in.
Alternatively, you can make a pledge ONLINE by going to Be sure to mention you are from St. Austin Parish. Or you can make a pledge OVER THE PHONE with Jennifer Anderson at 512-477-9471 ext. 325 during business hours.
It will only take a couple of minutes, and it will save us time and money, save you being bothered, and help our parish to continue to focus on important moves for the future of our school and parish. So please make a response.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C July 7, 2019

          Our Gospel today contains one of my favorite injunctions.  Jesus tells the disciples, and us, “Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what they set before you.”   I follow that religiously.
          Actually, our Gospel is a bit odd.  The other Gospels contain a sending out by Jesus of the Apostles to preach.  That also occurred in the previous chapter of Luke’s Gospel.  But Luke is the only Gospel to contain a second sending out for mission, but this time not by the Apostles, but by 72 disciples.  Jesus gives basically the same instructions, down to shaking the dust from your feet.  It is a repeat performance.  
          Why 72?  Scholars think this is an allusion to the Greek version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, which Luke used, which lists the total number of nations on earth as, you guessed it, 72.   In other words Jesus is symbolically sending them out to the whole world.  This instruction is for you and me as well.
          Jesus tells them, and us, “I am sending you like lambs among wolves.”  That is an interesting image.  What do you think it is like to be like lambs among wolves?   Hmmm.
          Jesus instructs us: “Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals, and greet no one along the way.”  I take this to mean that we are not to get weighed down by lots of stuff, an injunction most of us could take to heart.  Who here has too much stuff?  It is easy to fall into that trap.  Jesus tells us “greet no one along the way.”  Jesus does not mean that we should be rude and ignore people, but rather not to get sidetracked and waste time socializing, chit-chatting, passing the time in small talk, but rather to remain focused and on task.  Because the message is that important.

          The essence of the message we are to give is this: “The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.”   The kingdom of God is at hand.  It is just around the corner.  It is coming, It is here!
          In other words, NOW is the time to open your heart to Kingdom of God.  Your heart is where the Kingdom is planted and where it starts.  If God is your King then the Kingdom is at hand for you.
          What does it mean to live with God as our King?  First of all it means that all the other claimants for the throne in your life have to be pushed aside, whether that is ease and comfort, or money, or power, or pleasure, or revenge, or status, or success, or fear, or pride, or whatever.  For God to be King in our hearts all other forces and powers have to become secondary and subservient. 
          Who or what is King in your heart?  Maybe it is a little confused.  A bit mixed up and not very clear.  Perhaps there is some palace intrigue going on in your heart, a struggle between jealousy and righteousness, or greed, and God.
          Jesus in the Gospel is calling us to act.  “Yet know this, the Kingdom of God is at hand.”  It is here.   It is here (point to chest).
          Again today we hear that urgent call to not live the old life of sin, of selfishness and focus on me, me, me, but rather to inaugurate the Kingdom of God in our heart.  How?  By making God our King, in all that we do, in all that we say, in all that we feel, in all that we have, in all that we are.  God is King!  And that makes all the difference.
          Today in the Gospel we are the 72 others, the disciples, appointed and called to proclaim the Kingdom of God.  Not primarily by our words.  But rather by our actions, and ultimately by our lives.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Homily 13th Sunday in Ordinary time cycle C June 30, 2019 St Austin, Austin TX

Though I did NOT give this homily this past weekend, I thought I would post it anyway.  Enjoy!   Fr Chuck K CSP

On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for Jesus’ reception there,
but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.  When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
"Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?"
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

          In the gospel James and John want to call down fire from heaven.   Why?  to burn up and consume the Samaritans who will not welcome them because they are on their way to Jerusalem.  Hmmmm.   For complex historical reasons the Jews and the Samaritans did not like each other.  They could not stand each other.  It was every bit as bad, and even worse, than the political, social, racial, sexual orientation and other divides in our own day. 
          But I think we can identify somewhat with James and John.   Would it not be great - certainly dramatic - to be able to call down fire from heaven on your political enemies?  On all those pointy headed liberals, or on those deplorable xenophobic conservatives, and just have them burned up in your sight?  Whoosh!   Things would get a lot hotter around here if you could.
          But in the Gospel Jesus doesn’t buy into incinerating His enemies.   Instead, the Gospel states, “Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.”   Hmm.   We cannot call down fire, but that doesn’t stop up from calling names, or labeling our opponents as fools, idiots, retards.   And guess what?   When we do that, and denigrate others, Jesus turns and rebukes us.  We are like James and John, and are called out by Jesus for failing to truly follow Him. 
          Certainly there are programs and policies that we strongly and vehemently disagree with, such as the continuing scandal of the way our government treats innocent children at the border, holding them in deplorable conditions, that brings shame to our entire nation.  And situations like this should make us angry.   But we are not to use our anger like John and James did, wanting to hurt back and retaliate and even escalate the violence, but instead to use all the means available to us to work, work, work to change the situation, and to change hearts and minds.
          We are not to call down fire from heaven in that way.        
          However, just a few weeks ago we did hear about fire from heaven that was totally different.  We celebrated Pentecost, when tongues as of fire came down on the disciples, and enflamed them for mission.  This is the fire we need to call down, not on others to incinerate them, but to call down on ourselves, to enliven and to strengthen and to embolden us to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel, not only by our words, but much more strongly by the example of our lives!
          I think this is what St. Paul is getting at in today’s second reading when he tells us: For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.
But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement,
namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
But if you go on biting and devouring one another,
beware that you are not consumed by one another.”
For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement,
namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
          Brothers and sisters:  we are in for a long, contentious, nasty, brutal, dirty, divisive, and wholly crazy political election cycle.  And we all know it is going to get worse before it gets better.  And in frustration and exasperation and just being fed up we will be tempted as old John and James were tempted to call down fire from heaven to consume our political and social enemies.  And if not to call down fire, at least to hurl down degrading and insulting and demeaning names.  We may not do it out loud, but if we do it in our heart we might as well call down fire.  But we will only call down the Lord’s rebuke on us, as He rebuked John and James so long ago.
          Instead we are going to have to call down the Holy Spirit on ourselves, and especially our hearts.  St. Paul today urges us: “live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.”
Name calling is certainly the desire of the flesh.
          We need to invoke the Holy Spirit’s help, and guidance, and strength, to not gratify the desire of the flesh, that is, the desire to call names, to treat others shamefully, to humiliate and write off others.  
Live by the Spirit” St Paul urges us.    Let us be on fire!