February marks the one year anniversary of the start of Gratia Plena. There have been great blessings and challenges in the past year. We signed a contract for a new office space in November, and this week the landlord revealed that he plans to charge us fees that are not in the contract. So the contract with him is voided, and our lease for our current office space ends a week from today. Please pray that we can find a suitable new space. This newsletter was delayed because we had hoped to announce our new office address and phone number.
Catholic Radio is returning to the Houston area on March 14th, says Leo Garza! Tune in to KSHJ 1430AM. Leo is a parishioner at St. Paul's in NASA, and is the founder of Houston Catholic Radio.
Lent is a yearly journey of 40 days that calls us to explore our relationship with God. St. Thomas Aquinas said that the four typical substitutions for God are wealth, pleasure, honor, and power. Read the rest of Mary Malicki's Lenten reflection here...
Gratia Plena spiritual director Mary Malicki will be offering a small group called "Art as Recovery" very soon. It will be 12 sessions and limited to a maximum of 10 persons. It is based on the 12 Steps model of recovery, but a person does not have to be attending a 12 Step program or have an addiction to participate, and artistic skills are not required.. It is simply a beautiful path for healing through art. Contact us for more information and to reserve a spot. There is a fee for this group, which will cover the art supplies.
A new report indicates that adolescents are not getting the message about the dangers of drugs/alcohol. Read more...
Popular and highly talented Catholic singer/songwriter Audrey Assad mentioned on Ash Wednesday on Facebook that she had struggled with pornography in the past, and she said that she will offer her prayers and sacrifices during Lent for those still struggling with addiction to porn. This is a powerful reminder that it is not only men who struggle with this challenge. God bless Audrey for her courage to share this message of strength, hope, and encouragement.
Appropriate for the season of Lent, this week Dr. Ken teamed up with Fr. Alfonso to help launch a new group. It is for adult men of any marital status who want to be faithful to the teachings of the church on sexual behavior. There is strength in fraternal support. This is a free group which meets at Sts. Martha, Mary, and Lazarus Friends of Jesus church in Kingwood. Contact Dr. Ken or Fr. Alfonso for the meeting time and location details. It will not be publicly advertised.
Cool, video driven website: "I am Second" Check it out here...
The United States birth rate in 2011 was the lowest ever on record. Here is additional information about the decline
and why we should pay attention
We bet you didn't see this coming: even diet sodas raise the risk of Diabetes. We have known about the dangers of the sugary sodas, and so many jumped over to the diet versions thinking that they were safe. Wrong! Give up all sodas and be healthier. Here's the research...
Here's an interesting graphic
about the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and addiction.
We keep finding out about religious orders and communities that we hadn't heard of before. Check out "Miles Christi
" which means "soldiers of Christ." Pray for vocations!
We will continue to call attention to the strong interactions between mental health and physical health. Here's a study
about smoking and mental illness.
Dr. Ken and Mary Malicki presented this month at a Day of Reflection for catechists at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Rosenberg. Great people there!
A lot of people are playing the "guess the next Pope" game. While most of this is in good fun, selecting a Pope is actually a serious spiritual process of discernment. We pray for Cardinal DiNardo and the others who will begin this process soon. We pray also for Pope Benedict XVI, and his health. In the past 100 years, while the church has grown in every region of the world, the growth in Latin America, Asia, and Africa has greatly surpassed the growth of other regions. We could see a new pope from one of these areas of the world.
Our Movie of the Month Recommendation:
Some may know about this movie, but some may have missed it: “Fireproof
.” This 2008 Christian film stars Kirk Cameron. The story finds a young couple having serious marital problems and follows them through their healing process. This award-winning movie reveals a more realistic view of marriage and recovery than the Hollywood love stories, and can be truly helpful for couples facing similar challenges. The making and marketing of this film is a remarkable story in itself. It is available for viewing on Netflix and for rent through Redbox, but also can be purchased. 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…