Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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Twisp parish offers panel on aging; over 100 attend
the Inland Register
(From the April 19, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)
Father Matthew Nicks, pastor of the parishes in Brewster and Twisp, was one of the panel participants in a recent presentation on issues of aging in Twisp. (IR photo courtesy of Paul Jennings)
On March 13, 120 people gathered at the Twisp River Pub to hear presentations on aging. The talk was titled “Aging… Ready or Not.” The presentations ranged from the nuts and bolts of getting older to the theology underlying Catholic understanding of the suffering often present in the last days of earthly life.
The presentation was initiated by the Dignity of Life Committee at St. Genevieve Parish, Twisp, to help raise awareness of the unique challenges surrounding aging, death, and dying.
Three speakers formed a panel for discussion: Dr. Raleigh Bowden MD; Sheila Brandenburg, a registered nurse; and Father Matthew Nicks, pastor of the parishes in Brewster and Twisp. Panelists discussed issues from the perspectives of medicine and spirituality.
Science and medicine rightly concern themselves with keeping people healthy, easing pain, and prolonging life. However, this can only be carried so far. Loss, sadness, pain, and suffering are inevitably a part of aging, as is facing the stark presence of death. No amount of science or medicine can completely address these realities. Is there actual significance to suffering?
To this question, Christianity responds strongly, “yes.” By sharing human nature, God entered the experience of human suffering while accomplishing the salvation of humanity, by means of suffering and death.
By his agony and death, Christ transformed the meaning of suffering for those who belong to him. What is true of the head is true of the body. Just as Jesus’ suffering held power, so, too, does the suffering of humanity. Linking human suffering to that of Christ sanctifies, converts, and brings grace.
About 80 percent of audience members were not Catholic.
Comments were very positive for the content of the evening.