Column: Packet helps families prepare for that final journey

by Ron Kelsey

The Catholic Church affirms the sanctity and dignity of every human life as a precious gift of a loving God. All men and women should respect, protect, love and serve the lives of others, while accepting the duties of responsible stewardship for their own lives and for the lives in their care.

At the same time, faith in the resurrection and hope for eternal life have enabled the Catholic tradition to accept death as the inevitable end to temporal life and to believe that death is the gateway to eternal life.

In addition to the fundamental task of spiritually preparing for our journey home, there are other numerous issues which we or our families and friends will face as we prepare for this final journey.

Health-care decisions, especially those having to do with life-sustaining treatment, have important values at stake and can be complex, difficult and emotionally taxing. Advance planning and honest discussions of one’s convictions and feelings about medical treatments with loved ones, caregivers and clergy will aid in dealing with difficult situations. Those who desire clarification on Catholic teaching or who seek moral guidance should consult a priest.

The archdiocesan pro-life office has prepared a packet called, “Hope for the Journey,” which contains over 20 documents that deal with a variety of issues. Included are two important legal documents, prepared by the Kansas Catholic Conference in conjunction with the bishops of Kansas. These legal documents are the “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care” decisions and the “Catholic Declaration on Life and Natural Death.”

They cover such important items as nutrition and hydration and they are in accordance with the teachings of our Catholic faith, unlike many such documents that exist and may have been used. Some of the other information included in this packet cover things such as: moral principles involved in end-of-life decisions, the redemptive nature of suffering, Catholic hospice, Catholic Cemeteries’ offerings and a checklist, palliative care and alleviating pain, and euthanasia. This packet contains information that most or all families will find helpful. And it is free.

To receive a “Hope for the Journey” packet, simply contact the pro-life office provide us with your mailing address at our Web site of prolifekc@archkck.org, or by calling (913) 647-0350.

Mary, Mother of Life, pray for us.

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