501(c)(3) on the way...
The package has been delivered:
On May 1st, the IRS received our Form 1023 application for tax exempt status! This allows us to begin accepting donations, and they have just begun coming in. Donations help stabilize our new organization by offsetting our significant start-up costs. More importantly though, donations help pay for counseling for those who would otherwise be unable to afford it. Believe it or not, it can be very difficult to find counseling these days. The public mental health system provides treatment only for crises and very severe mental illnesses. For others, their insurance may cover only a portion of treatment costs. Existing social service agencies sometimes have long waiting lists for therapy. Secular providers may not be a good match for faithful Catholics. Gratia Plena exists to be of service to the community, especially Catholics, and to help fill the gaps in the current system. We are a nonprofit and use a sliding fee scale to accommodate those of all income levels. Send us a check today. Any amount is helpful.
Other Milestones for Gratia Plena:
We're cooking up a few things for the summer...
03/02/2012 Web Site and Social Media in place
02/29/2012 Gratia Plena is a nonprofit corp in TX
02/12/2012 Clients begin receiving service
02/11/2012 Opened office in Sugar Land
02/09/2012 Reserved Domain Names for Web
01/30/2012 Dr. Ken reactivated his TX license
12/18/2011 Reserved the name “Gratia Plena”
11/12/2011 Moved back to Houston
10/31/2011 Worked last day at secular job
Referrals are coming in from three different Catholic parishes right now, but we seek to expand. Starting in June, Gratia Plena will begin advertising in four parish bulletins near the office: St. Laurence and St. Theresa in Sugar Land, St. Justin Martyr in Houston, and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Rosenberg. We are honored and excited to reach out to these communities!
Also, Gratia Plena will be offering two informational sessions in June: one on the topic of "Compulsive Sexual Behavior" and another on "Compulsive Eating." In these sessions, Dr. Ken will describe these compulsive behaviors, how they get started, what types of problems they create, and what can be done about them. There will be a question and answer period at the end. The good news is that there is hope for these two issues! These informational sessions are for those who struggle with these behaviors, family members, clergy and other church leaders such as youth ministers, teachers, and pastoral counselors. The summer is a great time to take action. Contact the office for more information.
Dr. Ken's Book of the Month Recommendation:
The Diary of St. Faustina
. Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska was a very humble and devout Polish nun who lived only about 100 years ago. She began having visions of and conversations with Christ. Some thought at first that she was mentally unstable, but a psychiatric evaluation and spiritual direction revealed that this was not the case. Jesus told her that He had a special mission for her: to remind the world about God's great mercy. He said that we had forgotten about His great mercy, and so Sr. Maria should write down everything that He told her and do her best to follow all of His instructions. One of them was that she should have a painting made of a particular image of Jesus which shows blood and water coming from His pierced side. Blessed Pope John Paul II helped fulfill her mission by designating the first Sunday following Easter each year as "Divine Mercy Sunday." The Chaplet of Divine Mercy may be prayed using Rosary beads and 3pm daily is a recommended time, although praying the Chaplet in the last hour of a person's death is also important. This is a beautiful prayer as described to Sr. Maria by Jesus. Her diary is fascinating, and I particularly enjoyed reading the words that Christ spoke to her which are highlighted in bold print in the book. Sr. Maria died at age 33. She became a saint in the year 2000. Disclaimer: Gratia Plena and I do not receive any compensation or earthly benefits from recommending this book. I found a very inexpensive paperback copy on Amazon. I read this book during a particularly difficult time in my life, and it gave me great strength and hope.