Last week I attended a symposium with Bishop Murphy and the priests of the diocese regarding “End of Life Issues.” I found it to be most informative. The intention of these symposia is to share with our parishioners what we priests learn from the experts. My own holy mother had suffered for the last 10 years of her life with Alzheimer’s disease, but I was given the great gift of the Carmelite Sisters who cared for her with the dignity of the saints. I am indebted to them for the rest of my life for all they did and continue to do for the sick and dying. The compassion with which the Catholic Church cares for her most frail is unparalleled. You know this to be true.I am currently engrossed in David Brooks’ new book entitled “The Road to Character.” On page 93 he writes “When people remember the crucial events that formed them, they don’t usually talk about happiness. It is usually the ordeals that seem most significant. Most people shoot for happiness but feel formed through suffering.”It is inevitable that you will one day be faced with “End of Life Issues.” I urge you to visit the website I have listed below entitled “Now and at the Hour of our Death.” This website is the creation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to provide clarity and guidance on the Church’s teachings along with links to trustworthy information, guidelines and resources. The difficult issues of Nutrition and Hydration, Pain Management and Ordinary and Extraordinary Treatments are found at the website to assist you in decision making. There is also a profound 8 minute video along with links. I hope you will find this helpful and informative.
“Life is no less beautiful when it is accompanied by illness or weakness, hunger or poverty, physical or mental diseases, loneliness or old age.” Terrence Cardinal Cooke Servant of God.
Fr. Gerard Gordon