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In this painting by Poussin, the priest anoints the dying man with holy oils while his family watches and prays.February is traditionally remembered as the Month of the Passion of Our Lord. Just as Our Savior died, we too will experience death. There will also be times when it will become necessary to prepare a loved one for eternal life. But how can we help a family member face the reality of death?

With joy and peace, we should help the dying stay focused on Christ. In the Gospel According to John, Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” (John 11:25)

We can do this by settling all earthly matters so the dying can give undivided attention to life everlasting. Family members should often join in prayer, invoking Saint Joseph, patron of the dying.

Read from the Bible -- Psalm 23, for example. Pray the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and offer the comfort of each other’s presence.

Ask the pastor to visit frequently. Even if death is not imminent, the priest will administer the sacraments of Confession, Holy Communion, Anointing of the Sick, and give the Apostolic Blessing.

As death approaches, the family should pray together the Recommendation of the Departing Soul, ideally led by a priest, at the bedside of the dying.

For more information about preparing a family member for eternal life, please contact us to request a free resource pamphlet.

Also, watch our Family Moment video which originally aired on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).

May God bless your family! +JMJ+

Very Reverend Philip Sosa, M.S.F.
Provincial Superior, North American Province

Mass Cards: Request Perpetual Mass Enrollments or Mass Intentions for Your Loved Ones.