Your Donations Have Allowed Us to Expand!
Whereas profits for many organizations result in raises for employees or for managers, at Gratia Plena increased donations instead allow us to expand our services to the community. We give thanks to God for those of you who donated at the end of the year, or any time during last year and in so doing became part of our mission. Because of you, we are very excited to announce and welcome two new staff members:
Pui Au has just begun a training practicum with us at Gratia Plena, as she is studying for her master’s degree in Counseling at the University of St. Thomas (Houston). She was born and raised in Hong Kong, China and grew up in a Catholic family with one younger brother. Pui shares that she really came to understand the deep beauty of her Catholic faith during World Youth Day in Toronto in 2002. Her undergraduate degree is a double major in Psychology and English from the University of Colorado in Boulder. While a student there, she became familiar with FOCUS (the Fellowship of Catholic University Students) and after graduation served as a FOCUS missionary for four years. She is fluent in Cantonese.
Rosanna Iseri will start work at Gratia Plena on February 10th
. She hails from Orange County, CA and earned a Bachelors in Psychology from UCLA. She recently obtained a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Azusa Pacific University. She is working on becoming licensed as an LPC in Texas. Rosanna has served as a parochial school counselor as well as a marriage and family therapist trainee. She has experience helping children, teenagers, adults, couples, and families. She has volunteered extensively with the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, ministering to the homeless in Los Angeles. She has a deep passion for walking with teenagers and young adults on their spiritual journey, and therefore loves working in youth and young adult ministry and catechetical formation. She enjoys giving "culture of life" talks and retreats on chastity, marriage, and family life. Rosanna is half-Filipina and is thus familiar with the Pilipino culture.
Pui and Rosanna join Daniela Prado Colburn, who is working on her master’s degree in counseling through the UH system. Daniela is from Mexico City and is fluent in Spanish. Daniela has been working with us at Gratia Plena for several months now. We are very excited about the diversity of our staff at Gratia Plena, as it reflects the great international city that Houston has become.
Mental Illness a “Crucial-but-Neglected” Issue
In case you missed it, there was an interesting article published last week by New York Times
writer Nicholas Kristof. While we are not big fans of the Times
, this is a good read
Spiritual Direction Available
Did you know that you can receive spiritual direction at Gratia Plena? Contact Mary Kay Malicki for more information: (832) 532-0129.
Update on Spiritual Boot Camp
We had a first meeting of “interest” on Saturday afternoon, January 11th
to talk about and brainstorm on the idea of a new offering for Catholic youth when they have graduated from high school and are about to depart for college as incoming freshmen. There was a great discussion with good enthusiasm and excellent suggestions. It seems to be shaping up as a “Day of Reflection” for early August. We agreed that the “boot camp” title was a bit intense, and will likely present it as “Catholics Coping with College” or something similar. We will be sharing ideas and forming the framework over the next few months, and then will ramp up in June and July. If you’d like to be part of the discussion and/or part of the presentation team or would like to sponsor the event in some way, please let any of the Gratia Plena staff know. The more involvement we have, the better!
50th Anniversary Milestone
This month marks 50 years of a massive public health campaign in the United States to reduce smoking. This campaign has been pretty successful but the government has devoted many millions of dollars to support this worthy effort over the years. Does it strike anyone as ironic that the US government is now beginning to legalize marijuana, which is usually smoked without a filter? It seems pretty inevitable that marijuana will be legalized across the country. It also will be extremely likely that the very same challenges will arise as have with alcohol use. Marijuana producers will become mega-companies like Budweiser. There will be large numbers of marijuana addicts just as there are large numbers of alcoholics. And so on and on. Are we ready for this?
The Loving and Eating Well Group Continues
We’ll take a break on Monday the 20th
because of the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday, but the LEW group continues meeting each Monday at 5:30pm. Only $10 a session, join with other Catholic women on a journey toward healthier relationships with food and others. We’re saving a seat for YOU!
Support Our Local Catholic Radio Station = KSAJ 1430AM
Their 2014 car raffle is a big fundraiser, and this year’s prize is a 2014 Ford Mustang. Get tickets here
. Drawing will be Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday March 4, 2014.
Program at the Cenacle
Sr. Lois Dideon and spiritual director Jan Casey will be leading “A Time of Healing and Hope” on February 28-March 1 at the Cenacle. This is a pathway to healing for any type of abuse or trauma. The minimum offering is $95 which includes the program, overnight accommodations and two meals. You can register through the Cenacle web site
Dr. Ken presents Wednesday, February 12th
at St. Laurence Catholic Church (Sugar Land) on the topic of “The Mature Marriage: Racing toward Wholeness and Integration.” 7pm in the Parish Hall. Register by following this link
or by completing a form at the RE Building.
“Steps for Students
” (annual fundraiser 5K walk/run benefitting Catholic schools of the Archdiocese) is Saturday morning, February 15th
with an 8am start at the Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral downtown Houston. Last year, Gratia Plena staff walked and jogged with nuns in habits, priests in sweats, the Chick-Fil-A cows, and thousands of others in this great event. This celebration is loads of fun for the whole family. Mass at 6:30am for those who might need prayers and inspiration before perspiration. Pray for good weather!
Dr. Ken returns Wednesday, February 19th
to St. Laurence Catholic School in Sugar Land for a follow-up visit regarding anxiety in school-aged children. This will be a Q & A session for SLCS parents starting at 7pm. There is no fee and no registration is needed.
Movie of the Month Recommendation:
We recommend this month the new movie Ragamuffin
, which is based on the life of talented Christian musician and composer Rich Mullins
. The film was just released this month and you can find more information about the movie here
. If you are not familiar with Rich’s music, search for some of his concerts on YouTube. He is most famous for the songs “Awesome God” and “Sometimes by Step” which you very well might know. He was not Catholic, but before his tragic death he frequently attended daily Mass and went through the RCIA program. It is clear that he was heavily influenced by St. Francis of Assisi. In next month’s newsletter, watch for our “Book of the Month” recommendation.
Disclaimer: Gratia Plena and its staff do not receive any compensation or earthly benefits from recommending books, movies, music, websites, blogs, apps, et cetera…