By Kathleen M. Gallagher: Director of Pro-Life Activities, New York State Catholic Conference
Protecting the unborn is not the only way the friars are defending life. The latest film project fresh from the Dominican Foundation’s editing room is in regards to end of life care. The following is Kathleen Gallagher’s experience of collaborating with Blackfriars Media on “Now and at the Hour of Our Death,” a film project to help reveal the dignity of those suffering terminal illness.
Like an unexpected gift from Heaven, Blackfriars Media fell into our laps. We had applied for a grant to make a film that would communicate the Catholic Church’s teachings on end of life decision-making and, just as we received the good news that the grant had been awarded, our videographer was offered a job in another state. What were we to do?
Someone happened to send me a preview of a film Blackfriars Media had recently completed. I was very impressed, so we quickly scheduled a meeting. Almost immediately, we knew there was no competition.
The young men who make up Blackfriars Media are skilled filmmakers: professionals in directing, editing, cinematography, and sound. But they are so much more; they are instruments God is using to catechize and lead people to Him.
We were privileged to collaborate with them and their director, Father Gabriel Gillen, O.P., as well as Father Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., bioethicist and professor of biology at Providence College, who speaks with both clarity and compassion about end of life issues, and Sister Marie Edward Deutsch, O.P., the director of nursing for the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, an expert in palliative care who is a living testament to the grace and blessings that can accompany patients at the end of their lives.
Our project has been launched at a time when all of us are strongly challenged to witness to the worth and dignity of human life, when assisted suicide is being heralded as “death with dignity” and promoted across the country as a courageous choice. The Catholic Church encourages a peaceful and comforting alternative, one that is artfully and lovingly conveyed in the Blackfriars Media film at www.catholicendoflife.org.