Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the print edition of The Observer on March 20.Notre Dame will award Sister Norma Pimentel — head of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley — the 2018 Laetare Medal, the University announced in a press releaseSunday.Each year, Notre Dame awards the Laetare Medal to an American Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.”According to the release, both of Pimentel’s parents immigrated from Mexico to the United States and she spent much of her childhood traveling between the two countries. After completing her final vows and entering the Missionaries of Jesus, she worked closely with immigrants, who were often brought to the sisters’ convent.Pimentel said this experience shaped her understanding of her faith in concrete ways.“Scripture comes to life and our faith becomes flesh,” she said in the release. “It is not until you find yourself in front of the face of the immigrant child or mother that you will understand this. It is a moment of realizing we are all one human family.”Since 2008, Pimentel has directed charitable programs for the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, including “emergency food and shelter, housing assistance, clinical counseling and pregnancy care to all four counties in the Rio Grande Valley.”University President Fr. John Jenkins said Pimentel has lived out the call to recognize Christ in the marginalized through her work with refugees and migrants.“Jesus said, ‘when I was a stranger, you invited me in.’ Sister Norma Pimentel has given her life to welcoming Christ in the immigrant and refugee,” Jenkins said in the release. “In awarding her the Laetare Medal, Notre Dame celebrates her witness of seeking and generously serving Christ in the most vulnerable.”Pimentel said in the release that she was grateful to receive the 2018 Laetare Medal.“I am truly honored to receive this award,” she said. “This year’s Laetare Medal brings forth the cries of the suffering for the world to hear. I would like to thank the University of Notre Dame for this recognition and for being a voice for immigrants in our midst.”Pimentel will be awarded the medal on May 20 at commencement.Tags: 2018 Commencement, Commencement 2018, Immigration, Laetare Medal, Sister Norma Pimentel
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OTTAWA – New Health Canada figures say Canadians over 25 smoked more tobacco and cannabis last year than they did two years before.Health Canada closely tracks trends in tobacco, alcohol and drug use among Canadians 15 and older to help develop policies and programs.The prevalence of cigarette smoking among those 25 and up was 16 per cent in 2017, an increase from 13 per cent two years earlier.And 13 per cent of people aged 25 or older reported having used cannabis in the last year, up from 10 per cent in 2015.The federal survey results show little or no change in consumption habits of those in the 15-to-24-year-old age bracket, and little change in the percentage of Canadians who’d used opioids: 12 per cent, down a tick from 13 per cent in 2015.“Problematic substance use has a very real impact on the lives of Canadians, their families and communities,” Health Canada said.“Tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease in Canada, and in 2017, approximately 4,000 Canadians lost their lives as a result of apparent opioid-related overdoses.”The results pointing to an increase in cannabis use among those 25 and older affirm the importance of continued public-education efforts to inform Canadians about the health effects of marijuana, the department said.The figures come just days after the federal government legalized recreational marijuana use for those aged 18 or 19 and older, depending on the province.In 2017, the overall prevalence of smoking among Canadians aged 15 and up was 15 per cent, representing 4.6 million current smokers, an increase from 2015 when it hit an all-time low of 13 per cent.The government aims to drive the overall smoking rate in Canada to less than five per cent by 2035.The latest survey was conducted from February to December last year through telephone interviews with 16,349 respondents in all 10 provinces.Other notable figures from the survey:— 15 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and older had ever tried an e-cigarette in 2017, up from 13 per cent in 2015. However, past-30 day use of e-cigarettes was unchanged from 2015, at three per cent;— Past-year use of cannabis was at 15 per cent in 2017, up from 12 per cent in 2015;— Use of cannabis was highest among youth aged 15 to 19 years (19 per cent) and young adults aged 20 to 24 (33 per cent);— 78 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and older reported consuming an alcoholic beverage in the last year, unchanged from 2015;— 22 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and older indicated that they had used a psychoactive pharmaceutical in the last year, and among those, five per cent reported problematic use of such a drug. Of the three classes of psychoactive pharmaceuticals, opioid pain relievers were the most used.