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ComPassio is the diocesan program for end-of-life issues.  Taken from the Latin "com"  (with) + "passio"  (suffer), the theme of the program is to "suffer with", whether that represents the loving compassion of family and friends during the suffering of a dying loved one or the voluntary sharing in the love, passion and death of our Lord through our suffering at the natural end of our own life .    

The program consists of a series of presentations on the topics of the meaning of suffering, moral medical decision-making, euthanasia and organ donation, and material and spiritual preparation for death.  

Also part of the program are a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare document approved by the bishop and the Missouri Catholic Conference, along with instruction and guidance available at no cost. 

 

Program Materials

1.  Presentations on End of Life Issues

        ComPassio End of Life General Session -- (60 minutes)
         ·   Overview of all four topics -- the meaning of suffering and death, moral medical decision-making, euthanasia and organ donation,
             and  material and spiritual preparation for death

        The Meaning and Significance of Suffering and Death -- (60 minutes)
         ·   The source of our dignity
         ·    Secular perspective on dignity, suffering and death
         ·    Christian perspective on dignity, suffering and death
         ·    What we, as Catholics, believe and how we live this
         ·    Brief discussion of moral decision-making, euthanasia and organ donation, and material 
              and spiritual preparation  

 

       Moral Medical Decision-Making -- (60 minutes)
        ·    The weight of our human choices and acts
        ·    How we make choices
        ·    How we make moral medical decisions
        ·    “Ordinary” and “extraordinary” treatments                                                                                                                          ·    Brief discussion of the meaning of suffering and death, euthanasia and organ
                       donation, and material and spiritual preparation  

 

      Euthanasia and Organ Donation -- (60 minutes)
       ·    History of euthanasia 
       ·    “Death with Dignity” movement
       ·    Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide today
       ·    Organ Donation and brain death
       ·    Brief discussion of the meaning of suffering and death, moral medical decision-making,
            and material and spiritual preparation

 

      Material and Spiritual Preparation for Death -- (60 minutes)
      ·    Living Wills
       ·    Durable Powers of Attorney
       ·    Selecting a healthcare agent
       ·    Being a health care agent
       ·    Brief discussion of the meaning of suffering and death, moral medical decision-making,   
            and euthanasia and organ donation

 

   ​2.    Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPOA-H):  A Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decisions for Individuals and Families  

 


​​The best time to create an advance directive such as a Durable Power of Attorney – Health Care is now, before you enter a hospital or nursing home or become seriously ill. That way you can consider all your options carefully and competently.  Take time to reflect on your beliefs, the Church’s teachings, and have conversations about those beliefs with your family members, loved ones and health care providers. It is hoped that the guidance provided herein will be of assistance as you consider your own advance planning or are charged with the responsibility of making medical decisions for a loved one.

10 Facts ​About the Durable Power of Attorney — Health Care

  1. ​The Durable Power of Attorney – Health Care is an important legal document. It gives the person you name as your health care surrogate the authority to make health care decisions for you, including decisions to provide, withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatments, unless you state otherwise in the form.

  2. Missouri’s Durable Power of Attorney – Health Care statute does not permit you to choose your physician, or an employee of your physician, as your health care surrogate. Mo.Rev.Stat. §404.815.

  3. You can use the sample Durable Power of Attorney – Health Care included in the booklet or you can draft your own using this as a guideline.

  4. This form includes an optional provision allowing you choose to make organ and tissue donations, if you would like, upon your death. Organ donation after death is a noble and meritorious act and is to be encouraged as an expression of generous solidarity. You should, however, give explicit consent.

  5. Your Durable Power of Attorney – Health Care document becomes effective upon your incapacity. Two physicians must examine you and determine that you are incapacitated and unable by reason of your physical or mental condition to receive and evaluate information or to communicate decisions concerning your health care.

  6. Even though you have signed a Durable Power of Attorney – Health Care, you have the right to make your own health care decisions as long as you are able to do so. You will also have the right to make your own health care decisions if you regain the ability to do so, if you were previously deemed incapacitated.

  7. The Durable Power of Attorney – Health Care does not expire, but you may update it or change it at any time simply by completing and dating a new one.

  8. You do not need an attorney to complete the Durable Power of Attorney – Health Care, but consulting an attorney is recommended if you have any questions concerning the legal effect of signing a Durable Power of Attorney – Health Care.

  9. You will need two adults and a notary public to sign the document and witness your signature.

  10. You should keep a copy of the document and give a copy to your doctor, your named health care surrogate and your alternative health care surrogate.

 

Leadership & Volunteer Opportunities

It does not matter how effective we may be at providing pastoral care if we do not also have volunteers helping with such things as promoting and organizing events, managing supplies, and most importantly, praying both inside and outside of our parishes.  Every person must have the opportunity to share his or her unique gifts, limited only by the guidance of the Holy Spirit! 

Below are the current volunteer opportunities for the Compassio program. ​


Leadership & Planning

  • Create or join a Respect Life Committee in your parish or local faith organization

  • Research current and upcoming local, state, and national legislation for end-of-life issues and communicate with interested members of our diocese.

  • Assist with planning and organizing local activities to support the ComPassio program


Pastoral Care

  • Facilitate parish, school and group presentations on one or more end-of-life topics

  • Assist with development of additional presentations on end-of-life topics

  • Serve as diocesan resource for questions from groups on the Church's teaching on end-of-life issues

  • Assist with distribution of DPOA-HC documents and other program materials to parishes and to individuals as needed


Fundraising & Promotion

  • Assist parishes with creating flyers for scheduled parish presentations

  • Assist the Life & Justice Office with development of promotional materials (e.g. brochures, flyers, posters, etc.) for the ComPassio program


Prayer & Worship

  • Start or join a parish prayer group.  Pastoral care leaders will periodically email or text updates and requests for prayers to parish prayer group leader(s).  These communications can then be sent to individual parish email/text list or shared at regularly-scheduled parish prayer group meetings.  

To learn more about these opportunities, or to sign-up today, please contact the Life & Justice Office.
 

Please prayerfully consider making a donation to the ComPassio ministry.  This will be used for items such as books and resources, prayer cards, rosaries and crucifixes, as well as training and travel for team members.  You may donate online or by sending a check made payable to:

          Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph
          Life & Justice Office
          20 West Ninth Street
          Kansas City, MO  64105

Please note “ComPassio” on the memo line of your check.  Thank you!

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