Many of us may have thought about what we want medically at the end of life, but what about spiritually? Do we want someone to pray with us? Do we want our parish priest or church minister present? As a faith-based, non-profit, and the only Catholic hospice in the greater Kansas City area, Catholic Community Hospice is committed to providing services that interweave and uphold one’s faith. As part of that devotion, the hospice staff began giving Catholic patients a St. Joseph’s Prayer Chest blessed by Archbishop Naumann or a parish priest that symbolizes the religious beliefs and traditions.
Inside the keepsake box is a statue of St. Joseph, the Patron Saint of a Happy Death; a Crucifix which the patient or family members can hold while praying; holy water that anyone with prayerful intention can bless the patient with; a booklet of traditional Catholic prayers; a self-contained holy candle for the family to use as they pray for their loved one; a rosary to help with prayer and reflection; and a green scapular, which brings many special blessings at the time of death.
“When we present the prayer chest to our patients, their faces just light up,” says Donda McLaughlin, Parish Liaison. “I think it brings them comfort, to see all the artifacts that bring Catholics a sense of ritual, familiarity, home. It can also inspire family members to take up prayer for their loved one placed on hospice.”