Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.
Last week we considered the necessary inevitabilities and eventualities that need planning for when we die. The larger society however has been considering, almost obsessing on how we access the medical care we need before we die, particularly in light of the implementation of the new Affordable Care Act. As much as I am a proponent of reforming the health insurance system in our Country especially since the Catholic Church has such a large healthcare ministry and is a major employer as well, I am not a fan of the current attempt encapsulated in the Affordable Care Act. Here's why:
The major reason being is that Congress and the President exempted themselves, their families and staff from the Act in a condescending "not for me but for thee" move. And they've made certain that even if they get voted out of office they get to keep their Federal Private Healthcare for the rest of their lives. Coupled with this, last week the President stated, in light of the troubles with the Affordable Care Act rollout, "What we are finding is that purchasing insurance is complicated." Obviously he does not breath the same air as us mere mortals as almost every adult in the country knows that purchasing insurance of any kind is complicated. Hence, the Congress and President have no skin in the game, no dog in the fight. Which means they have little incentive to produce a health insurance system that is any better than what we now have since it will never affect them or their loved ones. And this points to a bigger issue: rather than being governed by elected representatives we seem to more and more be ruled by elitist prigs. But that's a topic for another discussion.
(And then there's the so-called "Contraception Mandate" that our Bishops have recently reinforced their pledge to oppose. Currently it is tied up in litigation and seems to be headed to the Supreme Court. We are waiting to hear if they will take the case.)
Anyway in between accessing healthcare and death is the dying process. It is during that process medical intervention is decreased and spiritual care is increased. A process we as a Parish can be more involved in. I previously mentioned the possibility of a Parish run Hospice. I am happy to say I received a great amount of positive response and willingness to assist in all phases of this project. The first step was to secure a property that can be used for Hospice Care. That process has had a few starts and stops but I think we are now ready to move on purchasing a property.
That of course requires lots of TLC on your part: turn loose the cash! There are a variety of ways to finance this project. The easiest is to secure a loan for the purchase of the property. We have the option of using commercial lenders or the Diocese for a loan. Or if anyone wishes to make a private loan, say for roughly $200,000 for 5yrs at say 2.5% that would be the most helpful. Obviously the terms can be negotiated. Let me know if you are interested. Either way we have a restricted account to which you can donate for this project and donations are tax-deductible.
One of the Corporal Works of Mercy is to attend to the sick and dying and one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to comfort the afflicted. What better way to do this than to surround the dying with love and the visible presence of the Church? One of the most important things we do as Church is to help prepare one another for death. That's because the decisions and choices we make today can bind us later for good or ill. That's why so often when we see pictures of the saints they are often depicted with a skull to remind us to consider our death and to make our decisions in light of that reality no matter how far off it may be. Granted it is a long-term strategy, hopefully, but by rolling up our sleeves and being involved in hospice ministry will certainly keep our attention focused on what really matters.
Love, Fr. John B.
P.S. Monday is the 10th Anniversary of Bishop Olmsted's appointment to Phoenix. Please pray for him. He has kept his promise that "if you like your parish you can keep your parish, if you like your pastor you can keep your pastor."