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CWL to promote palliative care May 4

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Women host national day of prayer and action
By Agnieszka Krawczynski

Photo: A family member watches over a dying man at a palliative care centre in Pittsburgh in this 2012 file photo. (Credit: CNS)

As the Canadian government takes slow steps toward a national palliative care model, the Catholic Women’s League is throwing its support behind the initiative with a national day of prayer.

“The power of prayer and action can make a difference in today’s world,” said Roxanne McDonald, Vancouver diocesan president of the Catholic Women’s League.

The CWL, with 85,000 members across Canada, is holding its second annual Day of Prayer for Palliative Care May 4. McDonald said councils across the country are putting unique spins on the 12-hour “day of prayer,” whether at their churches or at home.

Some are organizing rosaries, Masses, Eucharistic adoration, or asking members to sign up for one-hour prayer intervals over 12 hours. Groups are also signing petitions, hosting screenings of the Euthanasia Deception documentary, or raising funds for local hospices and palliative care centres.

At McDonald’s parish, St. Clare of Assisi in Coquitlam, she and fellow churchgoers will lead a Way of the Cross with prayers for physicians and people who are seriously ill or dying.

“I think it will bring awareness to people that we need more palliative care and hospice facilities,” McDonald said.

Barbara Dowding, past national president of the CWL, says only 16 to 30 per cent of Canadians have access to palliative care, depending on where they live.

In its 2017 federal budget, the Canadian government said 15 per cent of hospital beds are occupied by patients who would rather be at home or get help in a community setting. It announced in March it would pour $6 billion into home and palliative care over the next 10 years.

McDonald said many CWL members are signing a petition seeking improved quality and access to palliative care for all Canadians by specifically identifying hospice and palliative care as a medical service under the Canada Health Care Act.

“We have to do something in order to make a difference,” McDonald said.

The CWL held its inaugural Day of Prayer for Palliative Care last year in response to the legalization of assisted suicide. The annual National Hospice Palliative Care Week, promoted by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, comes next week, May 7-13.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 May 2017 08:08  

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