Care at the end of life can be challenging for families and care givers. A conference Nov. 2 at Newman University will help attendees overcome some of the hurdles involved with the dying. (CNS photo)

Newman U hosting Faithful Journeys to address end-of-life issues
Modern medicine can prolong the lives of the dying, but that ability can result in ethical questions for patients, caregivers, and their families.
Many of the challenges surrounding care in the final stages of life will be discussed Friday, Nov. 2, at Faithful Journeys, a Catholic end-of-life care conference at Newman University in Wichita.
“The intent is to facilitate discussion between Catholics and care providers about providing good, ethical end-of-life care,” according to Joshua Papsdorf, director of the Gerber Institute and associate professor of theology at Newman.
The event is sponsored by the Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies, the Diocese of Wichita’s Office of Respect Life and Social Justice, Ascension Via Christi, and Newman University. Faithful Journeys will address topics such as patient-centered advance care planning, medical and ethical shared-decision making, palliative care, and public policy and advocacy issues.
“So, it’s hopefully going to help clear up misconceptions for clinicians, regular Catholics, and clergy who work in the diocese because there’s a lot of misunderstanding about end-of-life care, both from the medical side of things and the Catholic perspective,” Papsdorf said.
Doctors, nurses, clinicians, those who work at care facilities, in addition to clergy and lay chaplains are invited, he said, “so they can be part of this discussion about what are best practices from a Catholic perspective for end-of-life care.”
One of the speakers, Bishop Emeritus Stephen Blaire of the Diocese of Stockton, California, who has spearheaded a comprehensive Catholic end-of-life care initiative, will “share his experience working on that as a kind of model for how clinicians and people within the church might deal with these end-of-life issues.”
Bishop Blaire will talk about the California Catholic Conference Whole Person Care Initiative and how it calls Catholics to a faithful journey of accompaniment with those who are at the end of their lives.
Doctors Gerard Brungardt of Wichita and Catherine Powers of Kansas City will discuss, from a Catholic viewpoint, their experiences of working in end-of-life and palliative care, Papsdorf said.
Father J. Daniel Mindling, a Capuchin priest from Mt. St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland, will talk about how to provide end-of-life care in a diverse, not necessarily Catholic, setting.
In addition, Father Mindling will address issues such as euthanasia and assisted suicide, and how caregivers and family can accompany people at the end of life in a way that gives them real support and help.
Also speaking are Elliott Bedford, Ph.D., an ethicist with Ascension Health from Indianapolis, Indiana; John G. Carney of the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, Missouri; and several others.

Want to attend?
Breakfast and coffee for Faithful Journeys begins at 7:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 2, in the Dugan Gorges Conference Center at Newman University in Wichita.
To register, visit and search for “Faithful Journeys.”
The event is eligible for continuing medical education and contact hours for medical personnel.