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National Palliative Care Week

2023 theme: Matters of life and death

Prayer service (source: CHAUSA)

Call to Prayer:
The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made. Psalm 145:9

God is the giver of all good gifts and the Lord of life. We are grateful for hospice and palliative care, which honor the gift of life. In the face of death, life limiting or serious illness for which there is a cure, palliative care affirms the value and dignity of human life. Both, hospice and palliative care celebrate and affirm hope in the face of suffering, joy in the midst of pain and eternal life in the face of death.

Reader 1:Isaiah 40: 1, 11, 28-31
A reading from the prophet Isaiah.

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
Carrying them in his bosom,
leading the ewes with care.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is God from of old,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives power to the faint,
abundant strength to the weak.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength,
they will soar on eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

Reader 2: Pope Francis on the importance of accompaniment
The categorical imperative is to never abandon the sick. The anguish associated with conditions that bring us to the threshold of human mortality, and the difficulty of the decision we have to make, may tempt us to step back from the patient. Yet this is where, more than anything else, we are called to show love and closeness, recognizing the limit that we all share and showing our solidarity. Let each of us give love in his or her own way—as a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a brother or sister, a doctor or a nurse. But give it! 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. This approach is reflected in palliative care, which is proving most important in our culture, as it opposes what makes death most terrifying and unwelcome—pain and loneliness.

Let us together lift up our needs to our God, who is ever-present and always loving.
God of all comfort, be with those who are sick and suffering. May they receive the medical, spiritual and psychological care they need; may they be supported in love by their family and friends, enabled to live well. We pray,

Response: Gracious God, hear us.

God of all companionship, be with those who care for others in their infirmity. Strengthen them with the graces of patience, love, joy and peace. Surround them with communities of care. We pray,

Response: Gracious God, hear us.

Leader: God of all people, move in our hearts that we may affirm the value of all human life through our action and advocacy on behalf of those who suffer. Open our eyes to see you in the faces of those affected by serious illness that we may care for them as we would care for you. We pray

Response: Gracious God, hear us.

Closing Prayer:
God of life and death, you became human, accompanied us and shared our joy and know our pain. Be with those who suffer physically, mentally or emotionally. Give us the courage and grace to draw near to those who suffer, offering our support, care and loving presence. May our solidarity and witness affirm the beauty and value of each human life. Amen.