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  • Writer's pictureProfiles in Catholicism

End of Life Challenges

Updated: Jun 15

A Message from the Editor

Death is something that we all think about. As others, I grieve when family, friends, and other loved ones die. During the many years that I was with The International Association for AIDS Care, I grieved for many many more including suicide victims and several infants and small children. My soul was scarred for eternity the time that I held as small dead child in my arms.


As I approach age 90, I think more and more of death, and somewhat look forward to being reunited with family and friends in the presence of God’s eternal and all-encompassing love.

There was a recent commentary by Pope Francis  in America Magazine on Father James Martin’s latest book Come Forth

Read: Pope Francis’ preface to Father James Martin’s book on Lazarus

Here is our review of Father Martin’s book Come Forth.  I strongly recommend buying a copy.

It was very disturbing to read the Report on Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo names 19 former priests accused of abuse and Close to 300 former pupils report abuse by clergy and lay staff at Spiritan schools. Hopefully states and governments will do more since the Church has not used more effective strategies to reduce child sexual abuse. One suggestion is those who are in prison be subjected to chemical castration (which is temporary) for five years after confinement. It would also be helpful if states add governments required mandatory confinement for twenty years since strong penalties are helpful in reducing inappropriate actions and ten year sentences are not enough to diminish child sexual abuse,


A note to investigators of child sex abuse. Science and case management experience have shown us that most child molesters are heterosexual. Abuse is about power and control and is not anchored by sexual orientation. Dr. Gene Abel, a researcher in the field of sexual violence for over twenty-five years, wrote an article for the average parent in Redbook magazine to take the knowledge he gained in doing over 100 scientific articles to provide specific warning signs for parents and caregivers. In this article, he explicitly states that most cases of boys being molested are attributed to heterosexuals.


It was great to learn that Ukraine has experienced a surge in religious growth since February 2022.


To see all of the topics that we cover, go to Topics


A Quote to Remember


“And even if we know that we cannot always guarantee healing or a cure, we can and must always care for the living, without ourselves shortening their life, but also without futilely resisting their death”

by Pope Francis




A prayer for Palliative Care and Hospice staff:


“A Soft Singing”


As I sat beside my mother, Lord, the late hours went to midnight

And her breathing was more and more laboured, slow, and a kind

Of rattling that made me think, more and more, she does not have

Long to live and, as the ward was quiet and there were few awake,

I remembered that the last of the senses to go was hearing and so

I sang the psalms from the prayer book, softly, hoping her heart

Was still open to the meaning and melody of the comfort in words.


As my thoughts turned to my wife and children I left and drove

Home, hoping to return in the morning and praying for the final

Hours to pass peacefully, even if her breathing was a new labour

Unto eternal life, leading like birth pangs, not without my heart

Touched, keenly, by the help she needed to be comfortable but

Not hastened to the door and so the doctor prescribed what was

Needed and, as I drove and prayed, Lord, it was dark and silent.


As day dawned, my Lord, and the family got organized and then

I left for the ward, so dark and quiet the night before, I panicked

Over parking and had to pay and delay before I could visit again.


Meanwhile, in those few minutes, my mother died to the sound of

Two of my sisters reading her psalms to her, making me think of

Mary, the Mother of the Word, being present as I arrived and cried.


How many were the hours, Mary, from her decline from a busy,

Eighty-year-old mum and bicycle, as my father went ahead and the

House my wife and I had founded our family in, went from big to

Smaller, from hosting teas for us on a Friday evening to bearing

With our noisy visits and the comings and goings of all our eight

Children, drifting in and out of the garden, playing, not noticing

The faltering step, the long-time sitting, the falls and final leaving.


Oh Mary, can one life speak to all as each of us dies in unforeseen

Ways, with or without our family around and the help we need?


But then what is the death of your Son if not the humble entrance

To the mystery of suffering and suffering with, patient and painful

As it is, yet great and majestic in the eyes of God who suffers with

Us by being with all who pass, silently or struggling, into the open,

Eternal heart, that throbbed a last beat, and the last drop of blood

And water that fell and blessed the earth from which we depart.


Oh Joseph, how many pass, alone, unnoticed, and need but another

To be there, whether speaking or singing, whether silent or holding

A hand, whether family or from the family of man, standing in as

You did as the father of the Son of God, whether as brother, uncle,

Neighbour, or those whose care it is to take us through the last days

Of our life, nurturing not just the passing of time and enabling the

Peace, but preparing us for the abrupt departure to everlasting love.


Oh Holy Family, call together all those who will, when others leave,

Or cannot stay and are called away, who will stay and bear the loss,

And share the grief of parting and, through praying, begin the rejoicing

as yet another, we hope, has entered the Holy of Holies where the great and unimaginably beauty, of the being of God, dwells as an everlasting fountain

of health to share with all who come to be in the presence of the Blessed Trinity,

now and forever.


Francis Etheredge, Catholic married layman, father of 11, 3 of whom are in heaven, and an author. Just published:“

The Word in Your Heart: Mary, Youth, and Mental Health”:

Lord of life and mercy,

bless the souls of those people who lost their lives off of Yemen's coast

as they sought a safer and more secure life.

Let them come into the safe harbor of your eternal love.

We pray through Christ our Lord.


Prayer to end child abuse

What has happened to the world Lord Jesus that so many abuse the children? Many look away and hide the crimes, they do not cry out for justice. You said the children are the most important in the Kingdom, To accept a child, you said, is to accept you.

Bring the children to me you told the disciples that they be blessed and protected.

You said let the abusers be brought to account and do penance as if a mill stone were tied around their necks and they be thrown into the deep sea, you said Lord in Matthew (Ch.18: 6-7)


Lord, inspire us and strengthen our faith by your words and actions, that goodness, love of neighbor and action for justice will over come evil. Inspire us to save and heal the children through justice, peace so they can live a new happier life.


by Father Shay Cullen Profiles in Catholicism


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Eternal Rest 


Hanson Hospice Center – Caren and Cara’s Story


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