Parish Dispatch: Rev. Paul-Michael Piega, S.T.L., St. Patrick Catholic Church, Hutto, TX

September 1, 2022  •   LPi

image of Rev. Paul-Michael Piega

We are so honored to work with vibrant parishes across the United States, each one working to bring the Kingdom of God to their neighborhoods. In the Diocese of Austin, Paul-Michael Piega serves at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Hutto. Here he answers some questions about his special parish. (Answers have been edited for length).

Q. Describe your parish demographic in 140 characters or less.
A. We exhibit generous hospitality, joyful faith, humble service, and Spirit led innovation of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Q. What makes your community unique?
A. Our community is unique because we are consistently growing in fulfilling our mission, which is to walk with Jesus and one another as a family striving for holiness! We are also a young parish that is constantly growing every week.

Not only that but which parish can say that come Christmas season they can show off their Lego Nativity scene? Yes, I am an avid Lego Master and I spread the joy of Christmas and Jesus’ birth through 20,000+ brick Lego nativity scene.

Q. Why do most people visit your city?
A. Many people visit our city due to another unique trait … the Hippos. We are the only city in the country to claim the hippo as our mascot and thus there are many unique characteristics about our city, namely, all the hippo statues at various businesses.

Q. What do people say when they visit your parish for the first time?
A. Many people have said that our parish is the most welcoming parish they have ever been to and that the Holy Spirit is truly present here. I believe this speaks to our core value of generous hospitality and that many people truly feel welcomed, feel loved, so as to receive Jesus, because they are part of the family.

Q. Where (and what) do you recommend for your best local eats?
A. The Texan Café is famous for its pies, Hippo Café with its unique wall art has great homestyle food especially their chicken fried steak with gravy, Southside Market and BBQ for good Texas BBQ, and Cork and Barrel is an Irish Pub/Restaurant nearby where people should try their appetizer the flamin’ bacon … yes, they literally light the bacon on fire in front of you.

Q. What is the last film you saw that you would recommend to your parishioners?
A. I wouldn’t say film, but rather a TV series named Avatar — The Last Air Bender. I had my doubts at first because it was a cartoon, but after watching the series, I highly recommend this for families because it is filled with great scenes and stories about growing in virtue and the plot is pretty epic … no pun intended.

Q. What is your most used App?
A. I would say my Google Calendar app and Instagram app.

Q. What is your most used emoji?
A. Rolling on Floor Laughing emoji 🤣 … I enjoy laughing a lot.

Q. What is an underrated book of the Bible and why?
A. Book of Jeremiah … there is tons of wisdom in his prophetic writing.

Q. What is an unexpected blessing of your priesthood?
A. The grace and joy of being a Spiritual Father to thousands of souls.

Q. What’s the coolest thing about your parish?
A. Our parish is at a truly unique point in our history in which we are growing at an alarming rate and yet we are limited in our resources. Thus, the coolest thing about this parish is the amount of potential for our future as a parish family.

Q. Who in your community inspires you?
A. I truly believe our youth inspires me to be a better Spiritual Father for them and to be a father who strives to provide for his children. It makes perfect sense that Jesus commanded his disciples to become like children in the faith. This is not a childish faith, but rather a childlike faith of complete surrender to our Heavenly Father’s will for us.

Q. What evangelization risk have you taken in the past year that has born great fruit?
A. Listening to the Holy Spirit in moving our Faith Formation to a more family-oriented formation. We realized as a community that the classroom model of religious education was not working anymore due to the fact that the faith is not being affirmed in the household. Thus, we have moved to a family formation model and the fruits have been quite amazing. Parents are not only growing in their faith, but they have each other to teach the faith to their children, which is essentially one of their main responsibilities and one of the promises parents make at their children’s baptism. Moreover, children are growing in their knowledge of the faith through the affirmation and example of their parents.

Q. What is your most innovative method of communication with your community?
A. One innovative method of communication with our community is the fact that we are being more intentional in our conversations and relationships with one another. For example, our staff calls our parishioners with a birthday or anniversary greeting and we “check-up” to see how they are doing spiritually.

Q. What is the best piece of ministry advice you have received?
A. God truly desires good for us and for our community, all we need to do is simply surrender and trust in His goodness.

Q. What is important to you in a great parish website?
A. One important feature of a parish website is to simply share our story with the world. Jesus taught his disciples through parables and stories and thus a key feature of a website should be just that … a storybook of our unique St. Patrick parish family.

Q. How do you personally use social media to communicate with your faithful?
A. I personally use my social media accounts to share the day-to-day joyful stories of my life as a priest. It has been a gift to live this life and I desire to build the kingdom of God through whichever means of communication God creates for us.
Thank you, Father Paul-Michael, for sharing your parish with us!

If you have a vibrant parish and would like to be featured in an upcoming Parish Dispatch, email: dcenter@4lpi.com.

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