Press Release

New Finishing Life Faithfully Guide Helps Catholics on End-of-Life Decision-Making

Church leaders praise the companion guide to Five Wishes that summarizes Catholic teaching in easy-to-understand language.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – April 8, 2024 – Aging with Dignity, a national non-profit organization whose Five Wishes advance care planning program is now used by over 40 million Americans, announces the publication of a companion to its Five Wishes advance directive, Finishing Life Faithfully: A Guide for Catholics on End-of-Life Care. The 28-page booklet summarizes the Catholic Church’s guidance on end-of-life decision-making and the ethical considerations involved and helps patients and families better understand these teachings and follow them.

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; and the sacrament of anointing of the sick. It also includes three real-world scenarios to help users act in concert with church teaching. It is fully footnoted.

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

“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)

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)

“Catholics want to finish life faithfully in order to enjoy the bliss of heaven,” author Jim Towey said. “By knowing the Church’s teaching on end-of-life matters, following it, and dying in a state of grace, Catholics can approach eternal life confident of God’s mercy.”

Author Jim Towey is an attorney who served as advisor and legal counsel to Mother Teresa of Calcutta for 12 years until her death. Towey wrote the book To Love and Be Loved: A Personal Portrait of Mother Teresa, published by Simon and Schuster, which is now available in five languages. He is the recipient of seven honorary doctorate degrees, including ones from Catholic University of America and Franciscan University. In 2000, Pope John Paul II awarded him a papal medal for distinguished service. He currently is a trustee of The Papal Foundation.

In 1996, with Mother Teresa’s encouragement, Towey founded the nonprofit advocacy organization Aging with Dignity and created the nationwide Five Wishes advance directive that is distributed by over 5,000 organizations in the U.S. He currently serves as the organization’s CEO.

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