BY: SR. PATRICIA A. TALONE, RSM, Ph.D.
CALL TO PRAYER
God of life and light, of power and mercy, you have given us the gift of life
and made death itself the gateway to eternal life. Surround with love, care,
and tenderness our sisters and brothers who are dying. Make them one with your
Son in his suffering and death, so that they may soon be united with you in
spirit and in truth.
A reading from the first letter of John: "We ourselves have known and put
our faith in God's love toward ourselves. God is love, and anyone who lives
in love lives in God, and God lives in him" (1 Jn 4:16).
Each time we pray the "Hail Mary" we ask the Mother of God to intercede
for us, sinners, "now and at the hour of our death." This familiar prayer reminds
us that each one of us will one day face death. For health care givers the phrase
has particular poignancy, for we are often privileged to accompany persons as
they enter into eternal life.
Prayers for a happy or holy death have been part of the Christian tradition
from its beginning. They frequently speak of a desire for forgiveness of sins,
spirituality, and strength, ability to remember God's gifts, and deliverance
When the community assembles to pray for a dying person, he or she draws sustenance
from the love and support of the faithful, even as those present draw consolation
from the prayers and come to understand more deeply the Paschal reality of Christian
Leader Lord God, we gather to pray for those persons who are dying, for their families,
loved ones, and caregivers. Through the death of your Son, Jesus, you have shown
us the way to life everlasting. Be with us as we pray.
Response Lord God, hear our prayer:
For those in our hospitals and nursing homes who are dying, that they may
know peace and comfort, let us pray . . .
That the families and loved ones who care for and suffer with the dying may
experience consolation in the promise of everlasting life, let us pray . .
That those who care for the dying—physicians, nurses, aides, chaplains,
social workers, and countless others—may reap joy and blessings for
their services, let us pray . . .
For those persons you would like to name, let us pray . . .
Leader Lord God, as we gather our prayers together, we are mindful of
the fact that each one of us will one day face You, our Creator in death. We
pray the words of Cardinal Newman:
May He support us all the day long,
till the shadows lengthen
and the evening comes
and the busy world is hushed
and the fever of life is over
and our work is done—
then in His mercy—
may He give us safe lodging
and a holy rest
and peace at the last.
—Venerable John Henry Newman
Sr. Patricia Talone, RSM, PhD
Vice President, Mission Services
Catholic Health Association
Copyright © 2004 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.