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Roman Catholic Foundation tackles end-of-life issues

Seminars offer information about Catholic bioethics, funeral/estate planning and more

With two sessions to date and three upcoming, the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri already has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from its seminars, “The Conversation: A Catholic Perspective on End-of-Life Issues.”

“We are encouraged by the strong attendance and the positive feedback of the attendees,” said Mark Guyol, the Roman Catholic Foundation president/CEO. “Catholics have a high level of interest in learning about these end-of-life topics. Priests are thanking us for informing the faithful about these important issues.”

A total of 310 attended the first two sessions — 150 at All Saints Parish in the St. Charles Deanery and 160 at Ascension Parish in the West County Deanery. They spent four hours on a Saturday learning about these issues, with presentations from priest theologians about Catholic bioethics, end-of-life care and advance directives, plus information about funeral/cemetery planning, and estate and charitable giving planning.

“Planning” may be the key word in end-of-life conversations, which might cause discomfort among loved ones. These sometimes are difficult discussions to have. However, such discussions and preparation “ensures that … final wishes are followed,” Guyol said, adding that “it is important … to understand the Church’s teachings on end-of-life decisions. Advance planning (prevents) family from having to make these difficult decisions.”

The presentation about the principles of Catholic bioethics focuses on ordinary and extraordinary means of preserving life, and quality of life and the dignity of the human person. Fathers Peter Fonseca and Don Henke have given the first two bioethics presentations, which along with funeral/cemetery planning have been favored by attendees thus far.

Post-seminar surveys rated the presentations as “as very helpful,” “valuable,” and “excellent,” with other positive platitudes.

One attendee described it as “very informative,” adding that it “answered many questions and indicated that this is a lot to consider and yet, has to be done before the final day.”

In addition to the upcoming seminars, four more are planned for the fall.

“By the end of the year, God willing, we will have over 1,000 attendees engaged in planning for ‘The Conversation’ with their loved ones sharing their wishes in regard to these important end-of-life issues, thereby giving the gift of planning to their families,” Guyol said.

End-of-life discussion

The Roman Catholic Foundation is hosting a series of presentations, “The Conversation: A Catholic Perspective on End-of-Life Issues,” with three sessions upcoming.

Ste. Genevieve Deanery • Saturday, April 28, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., St. Joseph Parish in Farmington

South City Deanery • Saturday, May 5, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., St. Raphael the Archangel Parish in St. Louis

Washington Deanery • Saturday, May 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Washington

Registration • visit http://www.rcfstl.org.

Beyond Sunday scholarships and grants

The Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri recently awarded, through the Beyond Sunday Education Fund, more than $2.5 million in scholarships and grants for the 2018-19 school year to middle-income Catholic families and Catholic schools in the archdiocese.

• $1.8 million, to 1,119 students attending 120 Catholic elementary and high schools.

• $751,000, to 43 schools and PSR programs and the Department of Special Education and the Department of Special Education – St. Mary’s Special Services.

The awards bring the totals to $5.5 million in scholarships to 1,579 students attending 133 Catholic schools since 2016 and $1.8 million in school grants since 2017.

For a listing of grant recipients, visit rcfstl.org/about-the-rcf/news

Roman Catholic Foundation tackles endoflife issues

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