Some Good News: New State-by-State Report Shows a Significant Decrease in Adolescent Smoking during the Past Decade
Current cigarette smoking among 12- to 17-year-olds fell significantly from 2002 to 2010 in 41 states, according to a report by SAMHSA. Adolescent cigarette use nationwide declined from 12.6 percent to 8.7 percent, but significant differences remained among states. For example, Wyoming had the nation's highest rate of 13.5 percent—more than double the rate of 5.9 percent for Utah, the state with the nation's lowest rate. The study defined current use as smoking in the past month. The report, State Estimates of Adolescent Cigarette Use and Perceptions of Risk of Smoking: 2009 and 2010 [PDF - 397 KB]
, is based on findings from SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports for the years 2002–2003 and 2009–2010.
A Year of Thanksgiving
My wife and I moved back to Houston exactly one year ago this week. As I reflect on the events of the past year and anticipate the Thanksgiving holiday next week, I would like to express my gratitude for so many people who have provided assistance to my family and to the new business. The list is very long, and so I cannot spotlight all of the names here. Many of you are reading this newsletter. God of course is at the top of the list. For starters, He allowed us to make the 1200 mile journey from Phoenix safely last November. As we were returning the empty moving trucks and trailers in Houston after unloading, one of the trailer hitches malfunctioned and the trailer broke loose, fortunately not causing any damage or injury. What might have happened if this had occurred as we were flying down the highway with our cars in tow? All I can say is that God is good. Everything I have and everything I am belongs to God and is a gift from God, beginning with my very life and I am so grateful for it all. What are you thankful for this very moment?
Year of Faith
I’d like to share with you three Catholic organizations that you might not know about. As we focus on the “Year of Faith” that started last month, we might try to learn as much as we can about our faith and seek to deepen it. In reflecting on these organizations, we remember the importance of being a servant to others.
1. I’m going to guess that you have not heard of Regnum Christi
. They are an international Catholic movement open to all lay Catholics, with three consecrated branches. They make a commitment to a particular form of spiritual life and they work actively in some way in service to the Catholic Church. It was started in Mexico in 1941.
2. Have you heard of the Order of Malta
? It is the world’s oldest surviving order of chivalry (nearly 1000 years in existence). Today the order has about 13,000 members; 80,000 permanent volunteers; and 20,000 medical personnel including doctors, nurses, auxiliaries and paramedics in more than 120 countries. The goal is to assist the elderly, handicapped, refugees, children, homeless, those with terminal illness and leprosy in five continents of the world, without distinction of race or religion.
3. You probably do know about the Knights of Columbus
. But did you know that they are the largest Catholic fraternal organization in the world? In the 2010 fiscal year, the Order gave over $154 million directly to charity (over $1.4 billion in charitable contributions and 653 million man hours in the last 10 years) and performed over 70 million man-hours of voluntary service. They were founded in Connecticut in 1882 by Fr. Michael McGivney.
Gratia Plena is seeing strong signs of growth since the beginning of the school year. As the leaves on the trees are dying with the approach of winter, Gratia Plena has sprung to life! There is now a need to add new workers and volunteers who seek to be of service to the Catholic community (and beyond). If you know of any mental health professionals in the Galveston-Houston area, including psychiatrists, who are serious about their Catholic faith and in line with the teachings of the Church, please have them contact me. If we can’t work out an arrangement for them to become part of Gratia Plana, I still want to know who they are (especially the psychiatrists). I have also been thinking lately about the possibility of adding spiritual directors to the staff. I would be very excited to work this out. Last but certainly not least, I am in need of the assistance of someone who could volunteer as a part-time business manager or executive assistant. I expect that this volunteer position would grow into a full-time role and be a paid position, but I would be overjoyed with part-time help for now. As always, I place the future of Gratia Plena in God’s capable hands. I will continue to work hard and leave the results to Him. Please remember Gratia Plena in your prayers. Our mission is to provide counseling that is faithful to the teachings, values, and traditions of the Catholic Church.
Dr. Ken's Book of the Month Recommendation:
I’d like to tell you a little about the book At the Heart of the Gospel
, published earlier this year by Image Books. Blessed Pope John Paul II gave a series of 129 lectures on the topic of the “Theology of the Body” between September of 1979 and November of 1984. Author and speaker Christopher West has taken on the mission of bringing this phenomenal teaching to the layperson in language we can understand. The late Pope’s basic idea is that a proper understanding of the human body and sexuality can save us from the current culture which devalues and debases the body, and could move us away from the traditionally puritan atmosphere of Christianity. West says in this book: “The signs of the times continue to underscore how desperate is the need—both in and outside the Church—of recovering a vision of the ‘great mystery’ of divine love revealed through our bodies.” This is important information for all married couples, for single adults, and for parents who are to be the teachers of their children regarding sexuality. By studying this book, those struggling with pornography or extramarital affairs could be able to look at their sexual issues in a new light. As the season of Advent approaches, this book also makes for a great reflection on the deep significance of the Incarnation. The book reads easy but will cause you to really stop and think about key points. This book carries a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, indicating that it contains nothing contrary to Church teachings. In next month’s newsletter, watch for Dr. Ken’s “Movie of the Month” recommendation.
Disclaimer: Gratia Plena and Dr. Ken do not receive any compensation or earthly benefits from recommending books, movies, music, websites, blogs, et cetera…