January 2012

Our Newest Altar Boy

On Sunday, January 15, Charlie Davis, son of Father Steven and Stella Davis, served for his first time as an altar boy. Charlie, who is eight years old and who has been very dear and special to all of us all of his life, did an excellent job. We look forward to seeing him serve us in his special position for years to come.

In Höc Signö . . . .

In 2010 Bob Harlan had the 4 x 8 ft sign made for us by a professional sign maker. The design was approved by Abp. Thomas. Also during 2010 I researched the city ordinance and had Richard Robertson design a sign that would comply. We submitted the permit request, which was denied because our church property is in the

Central Business District (CBD), which is also called Old Town. The CBD has its own rules about signs. The sign that we need would not meet the CBD rules. So in June 2011 I met with a city planner to discuss our options. The best option seemed to be to apply for a variance to the CBD rules. The variance request was submitted in August. The Board of Adjustment meeting was held on late October, and the variance was approved. Richard contracted with a man that does professional landscaping and sign building to have the foundation and stone work done. The result is a very tasteful sign that compliments the surrounding neighborhood. And it is completely legal!


Submitted by Dave Robertson

The thanks of all us go to David and Richard Robertson and to Bob Harlan.

In Their Own Words: Literary Likes

LOVE BOOKS! Usually read two a week unless they are big ones like the SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series! I read the 1st book A GAME OF THRONES – GREAT and almost finished the 2nd A CLASH OF KINGS. There are still 5 or 6 books in the series YEH. Tyler got the first 2 from school library and I hope to buy the 3rd. I have my own library. Enjoy everything from War and Peace to Science Fiction/Fantasy etc etc. and all the Great Books – covered in Red Leather no less!

I love books by James Patterson. At this time I am reading The Anniversary. The last one I read was “Violets are blue” it was a very good one. I have read almost all of  his books. “Toys” was not very good so did not read it all.
– Annette

I don’t have a favorite book, but I have a lot of favorite writers.

I really like Anne McCaffrey, I know her son has taken over her Pern universe, but I don’t think his books are quite as good as hers. I also loved her “Ship” books. I am so saddened to know that she won’t write any more.

I love Orson Scott Card, and even can mostly overlook his “Mormon” influences in his books, some more than others. SongMaster is my favorite of his, though I also love his Ender books.

Mercedes Lackey writes really well; and, while I love her Valdemar books best, she has some other really wonderful ones too.

Lilian Jackson Braun is another favorite, I love her “The Cat Who…” books, and to make them even more special, I discovered St. Augustine’s because of them. I know I’m not the only person who is sad she never finished her last book.

I like Janet Evanovich a lot, I find her books, even her romances, so funny, and when she gets to the bedroom scenes, she fades to black… like that the best.

Robert J. Sawyer, he really can spin a convincing tale. I don’t always agree with him, but I always enjoy [his books].

And then there’s Tony Hillermann; I wish he were still with us as well; I really enjoyed his books. At least I felt that he had pretty well wrapped up personal threads in his last book so we weren’t wondering so much what was going to happen next. – Leah

I’d like to start by thanking Gaylan DuBose who has for the last 14 or so years really supported and strengthened my love of reading by steadily providing me with books and titles to keep me literate and well read. Having said that, I will continue with my favorite book. Dante’s Divine Comedy is my favorite hard cover book. It’s not the poem that I like, although I do love it; rather this particular book was given to me by my sister and has a great inscription on it by her. For that I will treasure that book for ever. As for a favorite read I’m not sure I can answer that and if I could I would hope there will always be another better read down the road. If pressed for an answer, I guess I can narrow it down to a few favorites. In no particular order I guess I would have to say: Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth. Frank Franklin recommended it and for that I will be eternally grateful. I think all young adults should read it. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude was the first book of any length that I read completely in Spanish; it took me a year but I finished and understood it. Junot Diaz’s Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao came along at a time when I was going to give up on fiction forever, [so]for helping to keep my mind open to novels it will always have a special place in my favorites.

These days I am back to nonfiction. I just finished reading a book written by a computer hacker, no real hacking information but I did learn some terminology. Currently I’m reading a book on Economics and a couple of other books on teaching.

Writing this makes me realize that I should be reading The Bible a whole lot more than I do. That having been written I think I will stop writing and start reading.
– Father Jerry

First of all, I have to say that I don’t remember not being able to read; and I have always been an avid reader. The first adult book I read was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn during the summer between second and third grade. I still agree with Hemingway that all American literature really began with that book. Here are some other favorites. For humor, entertainment, use of symbolism, and moral value, To Kill a Mockingbird is my all-time favorite. Another favorite is One Hundred Year of Solitude, which I have read five times. Every time I read it I find something new. The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment, both by Dostoyevsky, are tremendously powerful. There are also other favorite authors with titles to numerous to mention. Norah Lofts and Steven Saylor lead that list. Both the late Mrs. Lofts and Mr. Saylor have been my personal friends as well as favorite authors. I also love the works of George Eliot, the Brontës, Charles Dickens, and oh so many others. It is, I think, not hard to see that I was an English major.
– Gaylan

The Newest Member of the Saint Augustine Family

Aubree Grace Patton arrived on January 9, 2012. Her parents are Thomas Patton and Crystal Martinez. Her extremely proud grandma Kay Patton says she is a beautiful baby and that Thomas is being a good daddy. We suspect that grandpa Ron and all the Pattons young and old would agree. We are so happy for Thomas and Crystal.

A Special Graduation

The Emergency Training Academy, EMTS Fire Academy in Round Rock, held commencement on December 16, 2011. Jimmie Johnson, Bob and Irene Harlan’s grandson, graduated with academic honors and was also awarded the “Bownds Leadership Award” for the exhibition of skills and traits of exceptional leadership. This award is given to only one person in each class.

Instead of thinking of where you are, think about where you want to be. It takes twenty years of hard work to become an overnight success.
-Diana Rankin
Contributed by Frank Franklin

Annual Parish Meeting

The annual parish meeting will be on January 29 after a potluck luncheon.
Be there!

Some special notes . . .

  • Annette Anastasi had surgery on January 11. She is doing well. She is at the Reliance Rehabilitation Hospital in Round Rock.
  • Frank Franklin’s brother George has also been at the Reliance Hospital. He will be going into a nursing home in either Llano or Marble Falls on Tuesday. Please keep George in your prayers.
  • We are especially happy that Scott Phipps has come to join us. Scott is one of a very few of our number who lives in Pflugerville

December 2011

Our Military Men

Each Sunday at the end of the Divine Liturgy, we pray for several members of the armed forces of our country. The heroic men below are those men.
Robby is from Round Rock and is a friend of the Patton family. He repairs tanks in Afghanistan.
John is another friend of the Patton family. He is from Round Rock also. He is, at this time, in an undisclosed location.
Chris Jr. is Father Steven Davis’s grandson. He is currently stateside but will soon be deployed again – probably to Afghanistan.
Bobby is the grandson of Bob and Irene Harlan. He has served for many years and has had several deployments to the Middle East.
Scott is the nephew of Gaylan DuBose. He is currently in Afghanistan.

We pray for all of them to return home safely soon.

Monasticism: An Overlooked Treasure—Oblates

Glory to the All-Holy Trinity now and forever!

Take my words, O Lord, and make them Thine, to the glory of Thy name and to the re-deification of man. Amen.

What Oblate Novices and Oblates Do
There is perhaps nothing an Oblate Novice or Oblate does that you cannot also do without becoming an Oblate Novice or Oblate. And Oblates and Oblate Novices both “do” the same thing. It is not so much that Oblates gain any knowledge (as in receiving a diploma) or engage in spiritual practices reserved only for the initiated — there is none of that. You become an Oblate by oblation — the offering the gift of yourself to God in a life guided by the ancient Rule of St. Benedict.
Because there are no set course of study to master and no spiritual practices reserved for a special group, and because monastic lifestyles and traditions have 1,800 years of continuous recorded history, and because major elements monastic practices — daily praying the Psalms — has a history of 3,000 years, you can find a monastic tradition that has developed in the past that will fit your spirit today. The variations in Benedictine practices are many even while they all remain true to ancient monastic practices. Moreover, Benedictine spiritual life has many characteristics that can be found in other traditions.
With the above explanations in mind, the following are items that characterize the typical Benedictine Oblate, if there is such a person. But, for Oblates, we do the best we can and follow these practices as our circumstance permit. As an Oblate you have responsibilities that monks and sisters do not have, a child or spouse to care for, bills to pay. And always remember: Be gentle on yourself as you follow your own Benedictine Oblate Monastic path:


Growing out of the desire to “pray without ceasing” and to have the love for God always flowing from our hearts, Benedictine Oblates pray (and many sing) some form of the Divine Office (also known as the Liturgy of the Hours, or Opus Dei — “Work of God”) when they visit a Monastery, or at their home, or in a Benedictine gathering with other people.
The Opus Dei is prayed between one and seven times a day: at Matins or Vigils (after midnight), Lauds (approximately at dawn), Terce (“Third Hour”—midmorning), Sext (“Sixth Hour”—noon), Nones (“Ninth Hour”—midafternoon), Vespers (evening), and Compline (night, last prayer of the day). Although in a Monastery all of these “Hours” would be prayed, an Oblate could pray as follows: a short morning prayer dedicating his/her day to God, then a short Noontime prayer (perhaps even the Angelus or just a Hail Mary), an Evening or Vespers “service” as found in the Orthodox Book of Common Prayer, and Compline at bedtime; and, of course, there must ALWAYS be the “Grace before each meal.” Each of these prayer times should take no more than 15 minutes or even less if it is only a short prayer without Psalms or Readings. At least the Scriptures for the day are highly encouraged in the Evening, with a Morning Prayer, Noontime prayer, and Bedtime prayers. An extremely useful and beautiful book for the Opus Dei is: Benedictine Daily Prayer, A Short Breviary, published by Liturgical Press; this book is very helpful if you wish to do complete readings for the Hours. Be careful, though, since it is a Roman Catholic publication, not an Orthodox one.

Slow, contemplative Bible reading that lets God speak to your heart and seeks close communion with God by God’s illumination of your soul.
Extensive lectio divina resources. (Lectio divina is pronounced: Lek’-tsee-oh dih-vee’-nuh.)

Oblates tend to enjoy silence in their lives and seek it out. Silent contemplation is often a result of praying the Divine Office.
Until we meet again, may God bless us all. Amen.

Please pray for me, Brother John-Thomas.
All biblical references are taken from the Orthodox Study Bible, with Psalms numbered according to the Septuagint. If you are using any other Version, the Psalm number in parentheses is the proper reference.


We had two beautiful observances of the Divine Liturgy on Christmas Eve. Father Gerardo Alberto Galaviz celebrated mass in a bilingual service at 7 in the evening. The service was well attended. After the service Santa Claus visited and handed out gifts to about forty children.
At 10:30 we began a festival of carols. The service began at 11 with our traditional singing of “O come, all ye faithful” with the first verse sung beautifully in Latin. Meletia Davis accompanied the organist and the choir on the flute as all sang “Silent night” after communion. His Eminence Archbishop Thomas David Logue celebrated mass. After the service Santa Claus returned and handed out more gifts to the children present.

It was good to see Brother John-Thomas OSB in attendance at the 11 o’clock celebration. We pray for the continued improvement of his health so that he can return to us. Those of us involved with the choir especially miss him.

The annual parish meeting is, traditionally, held in January after a pot-luck lunch. Be thinking about attending this important meeting. The exact date is to be announced later.

Frank Franklin’s brother, George, who has worshiped with us many times in the past fell at his residence yesterday (December 26). He is in Seton Hospital in Round Rock. Please add him to your prayer list.

A Note of Thanks

Dearest and beloved friends,
Thank you so much for all your love and prayers during my time of recovery. Your gifts were much appreciated, and they have helped us to recover some stability in our budget, which was rocked by my hospital stays. Gene, Ralph and I all appreciate the wonderful spirit of giving that has flowed from the hearts and souls of you all, and wish the happiest of new years to you all.
Almighty Heavenly Father, Who hast taught us to love one another, I thank Thee for all the loving Brothers and Sisters Thou has given to me and to my family. Most especially, I thank Thee for the chance to know and love all Thy children at St. Augustine’s Orthodox Church. Bless them, dear Father; forgive them all their sins, and grant them health, peace, joy, wisdom, all the necessities of life, and every earthly and spiritual good thing. I humbly ask Thee to grant this my petition in the Name of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom, with Thee and the Holy Spirit, I offer all honor and glory.


With sincere affection I remain your Brother in Christ Jesu.
John-Thomas McCune.

Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.
Bill Vaughan, Associated Press Columnist
Quoted in The Week

Contributed by Frank Franklin