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Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau
Guides for the end of life
By Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr.
“I look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.” —The Nicene Creed
Over the years as a priest and bishop, many people have expressed to me their anxiety over the increasing complexity surrounding end-of-life decisions. Much of this is the result of advances in technology that prolong life but also create many questions. Faithful Catholics desire to make decisions for themselves and for loved ones that are wise, compassionate, and moral. They also realize that those who do not share the same faith may not have our values. It is not uncommon in these situations to be tempted to take actions which are based more on convenience and less on human dignity.
Recently, the Catholic bishops of Missouri, with the assistance of the Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) staff, produced and published “A Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decisions for Individuals and Families.” The publication includes a form for preparing a Missouri Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. The booklet presents in brief and understandable language how to go about preparing for and eventually making decisions about end-of-life matters. The booklet is available for download by clicking this link, and from the MCC, either by downloading from its Web site, www.mocatholic.org, requesting a copy by Email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling MCC at (573) 635-7239 or (800) 456-1679 for a copy.
If you have not completed a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, I encourage you to do so while you are able. It will help you and those who love you to act with wisdom and a solid moral framework when important decisions have to be made.
Another end-of-life guide
As we have listened to the Scripture readings these past few weeks, one cannot miss the recurring theme of preparing for the end of our earthly lives and what follows. These readings can be somewhat sobering in their warnings, but they are also full of great hope. Jesus does not want us to be surprised, whenever the end of our lives may come. His constant message is “watch, stay awake, and pray.” We are to use the opportunities we now have before us to accept God’s saving grace and grow in holiness, looking forward in hope to our own judgment and the resurrection. Jesus gives us this surest and most important end-of-life guide.
During this Year of Faith, when we are all challenged to grow in our own personal faith, I invite you to review the rich teaching of our Church on the “last things” presented so well in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I especially recommend the Catechism’s treatment of Article 7 of the creed in paragraphs 668-682. As a sample, I include the last two paragraphs of this section here: “681 On Judgment Day at the end of the world, Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history. 682 When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace.”
May these days when we come to the end of the Year of Grace 2012 and begin a new Year of Grace be times of prayerful reflection on the precious gift of life and the new life of grace we are blessed to share as a result of our baptism. May it be a time of renewed commitment and conversion, faith-filled, with frequent reception of the sacraments, and moments to prepare with hope for the end of our earthly lives and the life which will follow. ©TM
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from Bishop James Johnston:
You can give without loving,
but you can never love
"The recent HHS mandate that Catholics and other people of faith act against their consciences by providing insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations, and drugs with abortifacient effects is of grave concern to many, including believers who are not Catholic."
taken from his column "On the Way" in the diocesan newspaper, The Mirror
To learn more about the HHS Mandate and what you can do, visit the Conscience Protection section of the USCCB web site by clicking here.
Response from Bishop James V. Johnston
"Prayer for Religious Liberty". >> click for prayer
Contact Senator Roy Blunt
To locate and contact your local US Representatives, click here.
ON THE WAY
Bishop James V. Johnston
Diocesan Youth Conference and Rally for Religious Liberty
“Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” —Rom 12:2
The faith of our youth
This past weekend (March 23-25), our diocese held its annual Diocesan Youth Conference (DYC) in West Plains. More than 300 of our teenagers attended this weekend of prayer, conferences, fun, friendship, and worship. It was especially encouraging to see that some of the parishes with the greatest attendance were among our smallest. The DYC is special to me not only because of the positive impact it has on many of our young Catholics, but also because it brings back fond personal memories. Four years ago, as I was making my way across the diocese to Springfield on the weekend before my consecration as bishop, I stopped at the conference and received a warm and enthusiastic reception! >>Read More