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Have You Considered an Ethical Will?


By Kathy Fanger

The days are growing longer with the extended daylight giving us the sense of more time in our day. Many of us take time to accomplish just one more thing before the day’s end. Some of us take a moment to sit and plan what we will do in the future. Others spend time reflecting on their lives. Have you considered taking some time to write an Ethical Will? Recently my father shared his Ethical Will with our family. Below is an excerpt of it.

In reflecting on one’s life, many of us ask ourselves questions of the heart: ‘How did my life matter?’ ‘What will I be remembered for?’ ‘What kind of legacy have I passed on to my family and others?’

I’ve pondered these questions, and now will list the values that life has taught me in the form of an Ethical Will. This is the ancient tradition where an elder passes on their personal values, experiences, and beliefs to their children and future generations.
I leave these thoughts for your consideration. Over the years, you have heard me mention many of them.

  • Develop a close knowledge and understanding of the Word of God. Attend Mass. Talk with Jesus daily. He is your friend.
    Keep in touch with family and friends by periodic gatherings, email, or phone. Just do it.
  • Make a conscious effort to be agreeable and compassionate. Be kind to everyone.
  • Don’t judge others, and never gossip. A person’s reputation is precious.
  • Good health is often taken for granted. It’s a precious commodity and a price cannot be attached to it. Do something each day to improve your health so you can celebrate many healthy years.
    Spend quiet time each day to reflect on your life. Set reasonable goals.
  • Gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for those decisions.
  • Be diligent in your finances, retirement planning, investments and long-range goals.
  • Help the poor and those who cannot help themselves. It will make you feel good. “It is in giving that we receive,” Saint Francis of Assisi
  • When faced with death, one realizes the importance of God and one’s relationship with God. Remember that it is never too late to reconcile with Him.
  • Please remember we need more and more to trust love and surrender, to let go of ourselves, especially our pride, our wounds, our hurts, our mistakes, our past, and our weaknesses, and to give ourselves over to forgiveness.

Ira Byock, in his book “The Four Things That Matter Most,” emphasizes four simple phrases: Please forgive me, I forgive you, Thank you, and I love you. These words carry enormous power to mend and nurture relationships and inner lives. We need not wait until the end of life to say them. Young or old, speak them often.
Catholic Cemeteries is here to walk with you in life and in death. Providing for your family by having all your plans in place, helps to relieve them of emotional and financial hardships at the time of death. They will thank you for this gift. Let us help you in protecting your loved ones and your legacy.

Solace – Soul + Grief
May 23, 7-9 p.m.
O’Connor Hospital Chapel
2105 Forest Ave, San Jose
Facilitator: Candee Lucas, M.A. Pastoral Ministries
Each month we will use a different scripture as a seed for our sharing, discussion and support. We hope to create a sacred space for you to share your grieving. No RSVP necessary. Free. Sponsored by Catholic Cemeteries and O’Connor Hospital

The following are endorsed by
Catholic Cemeteries:

Death Café
May 16, 7-9 p.m. (3rd Wed. each month)
890 Benton St., Santa ClaraWant a safe place to talk about death, dying, what it means? How do we participate or incorporate dying into our lives as we come upon that experience? Space provided by Santa Clara University Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries. Visit deathcafe.com/deathcafe for more information.

Caregivers’ Support Groups
June 7, (1st Thursday each month)

• Holy Family Parish – Youth Hall
4848 Pearl Ave. San Jose
10:15 – 11:45 a.m.

• Santa Teresa Parish – SJC Conference Room
794 Calero Ave. San Jose
10:15 – 11:45 a.m.
As a Caregiver, how can you take care of yourself? Do you feel overwhelmed, unappreciated, frustrated? You are not alone. For more information, contact Gina Maseroat maserogina@gmail.com.

For more information or to schedule a free workshop in your parish, contact Outreach Department at (650) 428-3730 x508 or cemeteryinfo@dsj.org.