Finishing Life Faithfully

Companion guide to Five Wishes for Catholics in easy-to-understand language

When Catholics face decisions about end-of-life care, they want to follow the teachings of the Church. But what are those teachings?

Our new Finishing Life Faithfully: A Guide for Catholics on End-of-Life Care answers that question. It is the perfect companion to our Five Wishes advance directive which is used by more than 40 million Americans.

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“Both Finishing Life Faithfully and Five Wishes deserve to be widely known and broadly distributed.”
– Cardinal Timothy Dolan (New York, NY)

“It is my hope that parish communities and families will use these publications, which are grounded in the primacy of protecting God’s gift of life, for discerning end-of-life decisions.”
Cardinal Sean O’Malley (Boston, MA)

Five Wishes and Finishing Life Faithfully: A Guide for Catholics on End-of-Life Care are helpful tools that protect the right of patient self-determination and inform its exercise with the light of faith.”
Archbishop Gregory Aymond (New Orleans, LA)

Finishing Life Faithfully was written by Jim Towey, founder of Aging with Dignity and creator of Five Wishes. He was a friend and advisor to Mother Teresa of Calcutta for the last 12 years of her life. "People want to be faithful to the end and one day go home to God in peace," Towey said. "Finishing Life Faithfully helps them do just that."

“I was pleased that the founder and CEO of Aging with Dignity, Jim Towey, whom I have long admired and respected, was able to spend some time with me reviewing Finishing Life Faithfully, an invaluable companion to your earlier work, Five Wishes.”
– Cardinal Timothy Dolan (New York, NY)

“Jim Towey has provided us with a truly Catholic, practical guidebook and advance directive where we can express our wishes and be guided in the questions that we should ask ourselves and our loved ones – but often do not.”
Bishop James Wall (Gallup, NM)

“I had been hoping that you would come up with this companion document, as it goes into greater depth regarding the decisions that should be made by all of God’s faithful, especially Catholics.”
Bishop William Wack (Pensacola-Tallahassee, FL)

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Finishing Life Faithfully makes complex end-of-life decisions easier and addresses basic questions on how to approach:

Aggressive medical treatment

Pain management

The use of a feeding tube

Do Not Resuscitate Orders

Assisted Suicide

The sacrament of anointing of the sick

For Families and Parishes of all Sizes

<em>Finishing Life Faithfully</em>
  • Aging parents who want to follow Church teaching at life's end
  • Adult children who want to give mom and dad peace of mind
  • College-aged children who want to be there for their grandparents
  • Hospital and hospice chaplains, doctors and nurses
  • Parishes, deacons and Eucharistic ministers who visit the sick
  • People of all faiths who want to understand end-of-life issues better
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  • Provides handy resource on Catholic teaching and includes 60-footnoted sources
  • Helps "fallen away" Catholics carry out the wishes of their Catholic loved ones
  • Covers dementia, strokes, terminal illness and more
  • Tells you when to call the priest for the sacrament of anointing of the sick
  • Guides discussions with family, physicians, nurses and priest
  • Makes it simple to use with your Five Wishes
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  • Is it okay for a Catholic to use a living will?
  • Who makes decisions if I can’t make them myself?
  • What treatments are we morally obligated to accept?
  • Can I have life-support treatment stopped if it only prolongs the dying process?
  • Are feeding tubes always required?
  • How much pain medicine is too much?
  • Is the Church okay with assisted suicide?
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Have questions about how to introduce Five Wishes and Finishing Life Faithfully in your organization or parish? We're here to help!

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