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Easter Vigil 2017 Print E-mail

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Letter From The Editor Print E-mail

Families Facing End of Life Issues

A little over a month ago, my grandfather Arturo Sanchez passed away. He suffered a fall four months prior and had remained hospitalized, eventually entering hospice up until his death.

During that time, as we prayed for him and over him, we were inevitably faced with difficult decisions that many families have to make regarding end of life issues. As Catholics, we wanted to ensure that he died a natural death, not one delivered by our hands.

As we searched for clear answers in accordance with church teaching, we un-expectedly felt pressure and weight of another nature. We were repeatedly confronted by suggestions, from members of the medical community, aimed at hastening my grandfather’s death.

Towards the end of his life, my grandfather had only been given 1-6 hours to live, but he remained with us that night, and the night after that, and the night after that. And each day that he hung on, medical staff suggested that they could increase his morphine or withhold hydration and nutrition to speed up his death. Soft phrases were also used when it was recommended that my grandfather could be made “more comfortable” despite the fact that he wasn’t in severe pain. The guilt angle was worked as well when we were casually told that we did not want to “let him go”.

Certainly not every family may encounter individuals like this. There are many wonderful doctors and nurses using their God-given talent to help the infirmed, but our experience had us thinking: what about those families who don’t know? What about families who may think they are doing the right thing and are unaware of what Catholic teaching is? Or, whether they knew when the use of technolo-gy was necessary or an aggressive means to delay death?

In my family’s personal journey, we felt very fortunate to be introduced to a wonderful book that eve-ry family must read in regard to dealing with these very issues. It is called, “A Will to Live: Clear Answers on End of Life Issues” and it was written by former San Antonio Archbishop, the Most Rever-end Jose H. Gomez. Printed in 2006, it offers a comprehensive look at topics like: What does brain death mean? Can an unconscious human being feel, hear or experience his surroundings? What is a dignified Catholic death? And, can the removal of nourishment and hydration from a terminally ill patient or person in a so-called “persistent vegetative state” be considered morally justifiable? There are thirty unique questions regarding the end of life in this book.

With this review, I have permission to include some of those questions with only brief excerpts of the answers on the following page. If you would like read the full text, you may order the book through Basilica Press. At press time, Amazon was selling the book for as little as a $1.60 with used books of-fered for only 82 cents. These are remarkable prices that belie the treasure trove of information con-tained in such a small package.

As for my grandfather, he remained with us for ten days past his final diagnosis. While my family misses him greatly, we are at peace knowing that he left this world at the will of our Heavenly Father and not our own.

May the peace of Christ be with you all,

Bianca Valenzuela


BRIEF EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK:

"A Will to Live: Clear Answers on End of Life Issues"

By Most Reverend José H. Gomez, STD

What does brain death mean?

It is necessary to specify what the term brain death means. Brain death is a term used to indicate that one has been determined to be dead using neurological criteria. It is "the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity (in the cerebrum, cerebellum and brain stem). This is then considered the sign that the individual organism has lost its integrative capacity." Verifying that brain death has occurred according to this definition would permit the doctor to certify death in situations in which the lungs and heart continue functioning with the help of machines.

Why is euthanasia considered murder?

Euthanasia is considered murder because it always involves the deliberate elimination of a human being; this "rules out any type of similarity to other forms of involuntary homicide." In other words, it always implies the intent to kill another person.

Euthanasia does not eliminate suffering, but instead eliminates the person who suffers. That is why Pope John Paul II stated that it is morally unacceptable and a serious violation of God's law. He reminded us that "this doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium." Some years back, the Church's Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith condemned euthanasia in a specific document entitled Declaration on Euthanasia. In this document, euthanasia was called an "act of killing."

Isn't it more merciful and Christian to facilitate the death of a suffering person?

No. It could never be merciful or Christian to kill an innocent person or to "facilitate" death (that is, too directly accelerate death) for someone who deserves care and respect from us in his suffering.

What is truly merciful and Christian is to accompany the person in his suffering, to pray for him and to spiritually unite ourselves to his pain, keeping in mind that his approaching death signifies his arrival at an existence where suffering will no longer exist.

On pastoral care and charitable care for a terminally soul for death

A terminally ill person who is unconscious also has the right to full pastoral and charitable care from the Church and those who surround him. He should not be treated as an annoying "thing" that should be disposed of as quickly as possible. Above all other possible forms of care, the dying person should receive the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick with Confession and the reception of the Holy Eucharist and should be accompanied by prayers and nurturing until the moment he departs.

Can the removal of nourishment and hydration from a terminally ill patient or a person in so-called "persistent vegetative state" be considered morally justifiable?

Nourishment and hydration are part of basic health care or the normal care that must be provided to the terminally ill or to those in a persistent vegetative state. To give food and drink to a person, even artificially, when it is deemed to be ethically proportionate for the person can never be considered "aggressive medical treatment." On the contrary, doing so "always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act, [and] its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate" until and to the extent that it is evident the patient has been nourished and that his suffering has thus been alleviated. Therefore, to interrupt feeding or hydration is not morally justifiable under such circumstances. Indeed, the undue suspension of nourishment or hydration would inevitably cause the patient's death by starvation or dehydration, such that it "could amount to euthanasia in a proper sense." The fact that the chances of recovery from a persistent vegetative state are slim does not ethically justify the removal of nutrition and hydration from the patient. As studies demonstrate, withdrawing nutrition and hydration may be a source of considerable suffering for these patients.

 
Ministry News Print E-mail
CATECHIST & KID

ARE YOU BEING CALLED?

Holy Mother Church teaches us that by the very nature of our Baptism, we are called to be catechists, to be soldiers for Christ. The idea of being a catechist can either take an informal or formal route. Have you in the past or recently felt the need to share your Faith with others? If so, now is the time to respond. The need for faithful teachers in our parish grows each year. Did you know that last year over 150 volunteers shared their talents with over 1100 young people of our parish? This need continues to grow each year. Please take some time today or during the next week to prayerfully consider if you are being called to share our Faith. You may call the Religious Education office at 210-688-9033 ext. 204 for more information or to complete an application.


A Year's Worth of Prayer and Inspiration for only $26!

The Magnificat is a monthly liturgical prayer magazine that can be used to follow the daily Mass and can also be read at home for personal or family prayer. It is a lavishly printed, easy-to-read pocket-sized worship aid with more than 400 pages that offers:

· beautiful prayers for both morning and evening from the treasury of the Liturgy of

the Hours

· the official texts of the daily Mass

· meditations written by the renowned Fathers of the Church and a great variety of

spiritual writings

· essays on the lives of the saints

· an article giving valuable insight into a masterpiece of sacred art.

Our parish is placing a group order so that we may qualify for a discounted rate of only $26.00 per year (regular yearly rate is $44.95). Subscriptions for this English (regular print) version of the Magnificat will begin November 2014 and run through October 2015. Parishioner Tracey Kollmansberger is coordinating this effort. Payment must be submitted to Tracey NO LATER THAN Sunday, Sept. 6. Please make checks payable to Tracey Kollmansberger. Tracey will receive and distribute our monthly magazines. To order or if you have questions, contact Tracey at 210-273-4818.


JESUS MARY HEARTS

TWO HEARTS PRAYER GROUP

Invites all prayer group members &

anyone interested in joining us!

Wednesday, Aug 19 at 7:15pm

9546 Coolbrook

For more info, call 680-4866.

 
Community News, Mar. 5 & 6, 2016 Print E-mail

Incarnate Word High School (IWHS) Shamrock Preview & Open House

Sunday, April 3, 2 - 4 p.m., 727 E. Hildebrand Ave. 78212

Prospective students and their families can tour the campus, meet faculty and coaching staff,

and learn about the academic/athletic opportunities.

For more info, contact IWHS Director of Enrollment Carli Valverde at (210) 829-3123

or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Project Rachel: Hope After Abortion

Have you or someone you know participated in or been impacted by an abortion?

Find peace and healing at our Project Rachel retreat

Saturday, April 9, 8:30 to 5:30

For information, call 210-342-HOPE (4673).

HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE… Experience God's mercy in his land by spending time at the very places mentioned in the scriptures: Bethlehem, Nazareth, Mt. Tabor, Sea of Galilee, Cana, Jerusalem, Mt. of Olives and more! Two journeys to choose from:

  • 11-day pilgrimage including 1 night on Mt Carmel; 3 nights by Sea of Galilee and 5 nights in Jerusalem at the Vatican's Hotel, the Notre Dame, with Deacon Tom & Mary Jane Fox as your leaders
  • 10-day pilgrimage en Español from San Antonio including 1 night in Nazareth, 2 nights by Sea of Galilee and 5 nights in Jerusalem at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem.

Organized by the Pilgrim Center of Hope; space is limited. To learn more or to request a brochure, contact Mary Jane Fox at 210-521-3377 or visit www.pilgrimcenterofhope.org .

 
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