"Indeed, in today's world, we can thank God for amazing advances in modern health-care, and not least in palliative care and pain-management at the end of life."
The bishop made three concluding points, beginning with an exhortation to pray daily "for our doctors, nurses and health-care professionals, asking God to bless and guide the wonderful and generous work they do. Pray too for the sick, the dying, those in hospital, and anyone suffering pain mental, emotional or physical. If a Catholic is seriously ill … please call the priest so that s/he can be offered the sacraments."
Bishop Egan then recommended that "if you or a loved one is terminally ill, consider whether it might be praticable to die at home. Ask whether it is possible for drugs to be used that do not totally withdraw consciousness and a chance to pray and commune with family and friends. As next of kin, gently insist on being involved in decisions. It might be appropriate to ask staff for a second opinion or a re-evaluation of treatment."
While life "cannot be prolonged indefinitely … it is not morally permissible until the very last to withdraw feeding and hydration. If the medical team suggests there is little more they can do, that is the moment, if not done already, to call the priest to offer the sacraments."
Finally, he urged that everyone pray daily "for a happy death, that is, to die in a state of grace, aided by the sacramental care of Mother Church and supported … by family and friends."
"Let us accept whatever death the Lord has prepared for us … let us prepare ourselves by persevering in the practice of our Faith, by attending Mass and making a regular confession, by daily prayer and faith-formation, and by living a good life in justice and charity."
"Indeed, as a child, I was taught every night to pray the following prayer, which I also commend to you: Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assist me in my last agony. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you."