We post brief updates in our Bulletins or Newsletters of Committees’ updates and news. Some Committees like to provide additional detail so we post that information here.
Dignity of Life Committee
Legal Documents: End-of-Life
Advanced directives? Living wills? POLST forms? Power of Attorney for Health Care? What do all these legal documents really mean? Which ones should I sign? Which ones should I avoid?
Good resources for documents include the following:
The pervasive culture of death deceives through the promotion of euthanasia as “dying with dignity” when in actuality it accomplishes just the opposite by robbing vulnerable patients of their God-given dignity and right to life. Protect the sanctity of your own life and of your loved-ones from the moment of conception to natural death by completing the above forms in a matter of minutes; your life may depend on it.
Culture of Life
Bishop David Ricken in his 2011 pastoral letter, said: “One of the priorities for the church is the great need to realize the value and the dignity of all human life from the first moment of conception to its natural end.”
He then outlined a three-facet respect life initiative for us:
• Pray and fast.
• Learn to love people by freeing them from their ignorance.
• Defend life with no fear, hesitation or compromise.
It can be very frustrating to witness the culture of death that seems to be overtaking our country. However, frustration accomplishes nothing and distracts us from the two things that can overcome violence and evil:
• Faith in God
• The loving witness of our lives
Every second of every day there are atrocities that de-value human life one precious soul at a time.
• Abortion of innocent children
• Physical and sexual abuse of children
• Neglect of the spiritual, social, and physical needs of persons with disabilities
• Abandonment and abuse of elderly and dying persons who are alone, afraid, in pain, and unloved by others
What have you done lately to help these most vulnerable among us? What are we, as the hands and feet of Jesus, doing to care for the displaced children at our borders? For the homeless children in our own community? For those needing foster care? Pope Francis reported in 2013, “There are more martyrs today than in the early centuries of the Church. They go bravely to their deaths, witnessing to the faith; yet do we hesitate to witness to the right to life and inherent dignity of every person, out of fear of being ridiculed?”1
We will be bringing special attention to the suffering elderly and those facing end-of-life issues in a forthcoming article. As our Wisconsin Bishops stated in their 2006 pastoral letter Now and at the Hour of Death, “The Church teaches that life is given to us by God and that we are its steward, not its master, hence accountable.” The culture of death speaks of euthanasia as “merciful” and “compassionate,” making this “false understanding of the gift of life”2 seem like an easily justifiable answer. However, Christ did not promise us that life would be without suffering; instead He promised to help us carry our burdens. We are called by faith to protect the dignity of all who suffer – be the suffering physical, emotional, or spiritual – and to seek guidance from the Church.
Today’s challenge to each one of us is to pray and commit to doing something to help even just one vulnerable family member, neighbor, or stranger. Pray each day for the culture of life to grow, for nothing is impossible with God.1Quoted from USCCB’s 2013-14 Respect Life Liturgy Guide; used with permission. 2 Quoted from Wisconsin Catholic Conference’s 2006 Now and at the Hour of Death Sources: http://www.gbdioc.org/departments/living-justice/dignity-of-human-life.html http://www.gbdioc.org/living-justice/dignity-human-life/end-of-life-issues.html http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/2013/upload/13-rlp-Liturgy-Guide-FINAL-no-crops-Secured.pdf http://www.gbdioc.org/images/stories/Resource_Site/Worship-Living-Justice/Dignity-Human-Life/Now-and-at-Hour-of-Death.pdf
Culture tells us to fear prolonged and/or painful deaths, a very real fear, and increasingly encourages us to take the easy way out of suffering or “becoming a burden” by choosing “compassionate” euthanasia options.
Contrarily, the Catholic Church teaches that each and every life is precious – from womb to tomb – and the 6th Commandment is clear: “Thou shalt not kill.” Does this mean the Church is not compassionate to those suffering? Quite the contrary. The Church’s teaching encourages every reasonable effort toward a patient’s recovery. However, when it becomes clear that death is inevitable, it is reasonable to cease treatment that would only prolong and potentially increase suffering, but it is essential to continue palliative care until natural death, in God’s time.
We are fortunate to live in an age when advanced pain management and palliative care are readily available to ease end-of-life pain. As Christians, we are called to address not only end-of-life physical pain, but mental and spiritual as well. Through prayer as well as hands-on care, we are obligated to protect the dignity of each and every soul, no matter how ravaged their physical body may become. It is not up to us to choose whether any person should live or die. (Ask any hospice caregiver about the beauty of grace witnessed in the last moments before one’s natural death.)
In our time, two amazing saints gave beautiful and courageous witness to the sanctity of life. St. Pope John Paul II, through his own extended suffering, showed us the grace received when we connect our personal suffering to Christ’s redemptive suffering. Blessed Mother Teresa showed us we must love and respect the dignity of every dying person as if they were Jesus himself.Sources: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/end-of-life/euthanasia/john-paul-ii-dying-with-dignity.cfm http://wrtl.org/assisted-suicide/euthanasia/ http://hospicenet.org Video for further education: Why Does God Let Us Suffer? (5 minutes) http://www.reallifecatholic.com/1/385/640/500/gjujpwi4xdk/yes/video/680/chrisstefanick
Ecumenical Partnership for Housing (EPH) Updates
October, 2014, News
Our prayers have been answered, the search is over for a Manager. This newly created position will further strengthen EPH as we continue to grow our ministry, ensuring many more success stories with the families we serve.Please meet our new EPH Manager, Susan Mills.Sue is a resident of De Pere, WI, and a member of St. Anne’s Episcopal church. She has been married to her husband, Eric, for 29 years and is the mother of two daughters who are attending St. Norbert College and UW-Eau Claire.She is a veteran of the Air Force, a former military spouse and a former government employee, serving as the USAFE School Liaison officer in Ramstein, Germany. She has spent 14 years as a teacher and school counselor and currently serves part-time as St. Anne’s Youth and Christian Education Coordinator.Sue has been passionate about EPH since her arrival in De Pere. She is excited to take on the role of EPH Manager because Sue believes, the EPH model helps break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Please welcome Sue and keep her in your prayers as she takes on this new role in the EPH community.
August, 2014, News
Last year the EPH Board and our Salvation Army partner approved expanding the scope of our transitional housing program to include long-term supportive housing. The “supportive” refers to the case management we provide in addition to the housing support. This expanded scope will provide opportunities to help more homeless families currently on our waiting list.
On target with our 20/20 vision, EPH has leased its first apartment for the Long-Term Supportive Housing Program. On August 15, our Salvation Army partner placed our first family in the program. The Mother and her 4 children have been separated from the Father for 3 years. Within the last year, the family has been living with friends and family and unfortunately, they haven’t been able to live in the same home together. Now, all are living under one roof, and the family is adjusting well and feeling very happy. The three oldest children are enrolled in the Ashwaubenon School District. The youngest child is beginning in the Head Start program and he is so very excited! After receiving school supplies the other day, the children were begging Mom to use them right away! Mom is a very hard worker and is currently looking for employment that will better fit the family’s schedule as well as provide a more sustainable income. The family is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Long-Term Supportive Housing Program, especially because they can all live together again.