A regular columnist wrote on Saturday that turning 65 is not the same as turning 60. 65 is not the new 55: it is 65, and boomers better get used to it. 65 means old age, cheaper movies and transit fares to be sure, but 65 also means coming face to face with mortality i.e., death, usually preceded by infirmity and illness. In a youth-obsessed culture, in which turning 25 can be viewed with concern, it is comforting to think that at least the Church hasn’t given up on oldsters. Cynics will say that’s because it’s an institution headed by an octogenarian, but I don’t think that’s the reason why the Church yearly marks World Day of the Sick. I think it’s because, in the words of Pope John Paul II, “the Church today lives a fundamental aspect of her mission in lovingly and generously accepting every human being, especially those who are weak and sick” (Christifideles Laici, 38).
In the spirit of the Good Samaritan, I would like to offer the following resources which I hope those who are caring for the sick and the dying will find helpful:
- All the fine resources published by the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada, in particular the Health Ethics Guide – 3rd Ed (2012)
- Community of Care: A Parish Ministry of Care Manual (Catholic Health Alliance of Saskatchewan/Novalis, 2010)
- Now What? A Practical Guide to Dealing with Aging, Illness and Dying (Novalis, 2010)
- Embracing the End of Life: Help for Those Who Accompany the Dying (Novalis, 2012).
“Someone should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day.” – Pope Paul VI