The vision for the future is to establish a residential hospice home and provide end-of-life care through the lens of the Catholic Faith.
Picture living out your last days in a beautiful home-like setting, much like that of a beautiful bed and breakfast. Envision loving caregivers and companions committed to serving your needs while wrapping you in a blanket of prayer and the Sacraments (Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Anointing of the Sick) as you make your way to our heavenly homeland. Can you imagine such a place? A place that strives to meet the criteria below:
A place, a domestic church, where the people live out their last days surrounded by caregivers who are believers and serve the Lord.
- A place that allows elders and persons at end-of-life to be united with the faith community.
- A home, that is in full communion with the Church and its teachings.
- A local residence where caregivers live out the call to “defend the weak and diminished”.
- A community resource that helps the faithful and the community better understand Church directives in end-of-life, ensuring choices that are compassionate and morally ethical.
- A counseling ministry that support the needs of the community
God equips each of us with the gifts and talents we need to emulate His Love. God fills us with the grace to love those He places in our sacred journey, “for God’s grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Love is the blueprint for this proposed ministry. Saint Teresa of Calcutta reminds us, “It is not the magnitude of our actions, but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.” We all have a capacity to love, thus making this ministry open to all who wish to participate. No special training required, in most cases. Love and prayer can impact the dying experience, tangibly and intangibly, and in ways we may not understand in the limited scope of our earthly vision.
Why do it?
“Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end” (CCC 2258).
Compassion and love for older persons and persons with terminal illness compels us to examine the current state of affairs for caring for elders and the dying. It also offers both a vision of hope that is spiritually rich, and economically practical solutions for end-of-life care in the not-so-distant future.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta stated that the “greatest poverty is to be unwanted, to have no one to take care of you.” Imagine having no one to love you in your suffering. It is this great poverty that the home and its ministry address. It is essentially a ministry of love and service. Every person is a child of God and every person has the capacity to love, because God is love and we are made in His image. Love can be expressed in so many ways: through service, through prayer, through compassionate listening, and through presence.
Education and Example
A fervent campaign to educate the Catholics and the community in end-of-life issues will empower members of the church and their families to make compassionate, ethical, and moral choices for end of life that reflect the Catholic faith. Educating the faithful also means providing a living example of such beliefs through ministry — a ministry that incorporates church teaching into practice.
Many of the faithful have talents that can be utilized in a private setting. A retired nurse might help one day a week. A homemaker might cook a special dessert. An accountant might help with taxes. The family members of the patient would be encouraged to participate in any way they are able. A parish community comprises a multitude of talents, but often it goes untapped because the faithful need direction in how to help. Wright contends that “the person who embodies total compassion and love is happiest and most fulfilled in a profession or activity that focuses on alleviating the suffering of others.”