“Dying is not fundamentally a medical event, but rather a social event that happens in the family and the community.”
– Dr. Mary Lou Kelley

Community involvement is an essential aspect of end of life. It offers the opportunity to visit with the person who is dying and their caregivers. Accompanying the bereaved is equally important after a person has died, especially during the first year after the death.

There are things you can do as an individual and within your parish to support one another. Praying for the sick, taking Communion to them, arranging parishioners to make meals for the family, arranging for the priest to visit the dying person, and offering other benevolent gestures are ways that parishes can support their friends and neighbours.

Q. What is the Compassionate Communities movement?+

Compassionate Communities is a global movement that recognizes illness, dying and grief as part of life and encourages everyone to play a part in caring for those going through these experiences. Compassionate Communities build “circles of care” around people who are sick and dying, and those closest to them. These “circles” can include: friends and neighbours workplaces and schools faith and cultural communities social clubs support groups community organizations

Q. What do Compassionate Communities do?+

At its core, a Compassionate Community is about improving the quality of life for people with a life-limiting illness and their families by encouraging people to advocate for and provide assistance and practical support within their community. Compassionate Communities provide practical and emotional support to those who are sick, reduce the burden on caregivers, and offer meaningful opportunities for human connection at life’s critical moments. They complement health services and expand the community’s capacity to care for people facing serious illness. The goal is that everyone is well cared for and supported.

Q. What is a Compassionate Parish?+

Compassionate Parish is the Catholic version of Compassionate Communities. The “model” for Compassionate Parish in the Archdiocese of Edmonton was developed by Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Sherwood Park, Alberta, based on the Compassionate Communities model. Compassionate Parish is not a new parish group or ministry. Rather, it connects existing groups, ministries and programs with new services to meet the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and practical supports of individuals, families, and caregivers in our parish and the broader community. When a parish identifies itself as a Compassionate Parish, that name becomes a unifying symbol of its Christian identity and fosters a whole-parish commitment to support those who are suffering, dying and grieving.

Preparing for a Happy Death and the Life to Come

Compassionate Parish Resources

Dying with Christ—Living with Hope