At some point every family must deal with issues involving end-of-life care for a loved one. As Catholics attempt to navigate the myriad medical, ethical and religious questions that arise, all the while dealing with the grief of an impending death, it can become overwhelming.
In an effort to offer assistance, the New York State Catholic Conference has produced a brand new website, www.catholicendoflife.org, and a high definition video, “Now and at the Hour of Our Death,” that tackles many of the common questions and concerns, offers clarity and compassion and serves as an education resource for Catholics nationwide.
“Outside of moral evils like assisted suicide or euthanasia, Catholic Church teachings regarding the end of life are not black and white; rather they are shades of gray,” said Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference. “There is no one-size-fits-all response. Each case is different. What the video and website attempt to do is, not so much give answers, but help Catholics to ask the right questions.”
Funded by a $25,000 grant from Our Sunday Visitor, the website and video grew out of a booklet produced by the Conference, also titled “Now and at the Hour of Our Death.”
“The demand for the booklet is unlike anything we have ever produced at the Conference,” Mrs. Gallagher said. “We knew there was a need to be met, but did not fully grasp how great that need was until we saw the reaction to the booklet. And when we looked around the country, we realized that the resources didn’t exist in any one place. Thankfully Our Sunday Visitor saw the same need, and so generously provided the necessary funding for this new project.
“We are excited to share this as a national resource. This is by no means a New York-centric project. You can get great information and guidance regardless of where you live.”
The video is available directly on the website, as well as on the New York State Catholic Conference channel on YouTube. It was created by Blackfriars Media, a New York City video production company associated with the Dominican Fathers Province of St. Joseph. The website was produced by Behan Communications of Glens Falls.
“It was an honor teaming up with the New York State Bishops on this groundbreaking short film to help guide faithful Catholics on the difficult decisions involving end-of-life treatment and care,” said Father Gabriel Gillen, O.P., executive producer of Blackfriars Media.
The Catholic Conference, which represents New York State’s bishops in matters of public policy, will promote the website and video through social media and in cooperation with other state Catholic Conferences to maximize the number of Catholics it can impact.