Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord:
It is never easy for us to think about sickness and death. Though it is part of life, we prefer not to think about these realities of our human existence. If someone close to us or we ourselves become ill, a very difficult situation becomes still more challenging unless we have the benefit of having made reasonable and faith based preparations prior to sudden or unexpected illness.
In today’s culture we are compelled to address these end of life issues. Medical science has made extraordinary advances, which, however, make it difficult to predict what will or will not be feasible in addressing our future medical needs. Because of this, it is imperative that we make such plans in advance so that others will know our wishes. Filling out an Advance Care document assures us we will be cared for according to our Catholic faith and values, and also enables our families and loves ones to know how we wish to be cared for should we be in the situation where we cannot speak for ourselves.
The Vermont legislation regarding Advance Directives that was passed in 2005 allows us to put into one document that which was formerly contained in two documents, namely the living will and the durable power of attorney. Since many of the forms have become increasingly more cumbersome as they tried to accommodate so many different instances and situations, the Diocese has made available a concise document which will meet your needs as Catholics, and allow you to specify who will be your health care agent and the alternates in case that agent is unavailable.
Please understand, however, that the simplicity of this form places more responsibility upon you inasmuch as it requires you to have an ongoing dialogue with your chosen health care agent. It is important that once you have chosen such an agent and alternate agents that you keep them informed of your medical needs and desires. By so doing, you will be able to better ensure that days of illness and apprehension may be more peaceful, not only for you, but also for those who love and care for you.
Hopefully the information here provided will assist you in addressing these vital issues. The instructions for preparing this legal document are provided for you as well. This packet of information, consistent with Catholic principles and doctrine and in accordance with the laws and practices of the State of Vermont, is available through the Marriage, Family, and Respect Life Ministries Office and on the diocesan web site. Please feel free to make copies of the packet of information or request additional copies.
May we all rest in the knowledge that the same Lord who has begun His good work in us will see it to completion when at last we return to Him to share in His glorious resurrection.
Assuring you of my prayers as we continue our journey of faith, I remain,
Devotedly Yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Salvatore R. Matano