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Cardinal leads town hall meeting, novena against assisted suicide


BRAINTREE -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley is inviting the public to join a town hall meeting against a November ballot to legalize physician assisted suicide to be broadcast on CatholicTV on Oct. 3 at 8 p.m.

"Join Cardinal Seán O'Malley and a group of concerned Catholics to openly discuss Physician-Assisted Suicide to ensure that the families of people with terminal illnesses will never feel they have been left alone in caring for their needs. The claim that the 'quick fix' of an overdose of drugs can substitute for these efforts is an affront to patients, caregivers and the ideals of medicine," CatholicTV said in an email.

Cardinal O'Malley also urged all Catholics join him in the "Rosary Novena for the Defeat of Physician Assisted Suicide" from Oct. 3-11.

"I invite you to join with me and with Catholics throughout the world for a greater respect for the gift of human life, especially for the elderly and the terminally ill. As the Archbishop of Boston, I am asking people throughout the state of Massachusetts to join us in praying specifically for the defeat of Physician-Assisted Suicide, which will appear on our ballots on voting day as Question Number 2," the cardinal said in his introductory message to the novena.

All families and school communities are being asked to pray the rosary during these 9 days for the specific intention of defeating the November ballot question that would legalize physician-assisted suicide.

The novena begins on Oct. 3, immediately following the live town hall meeting.

For those families that might need help praying the rosary, the cardinal has recorded specific rosaries at CatholicTV along with the Little Sisters of the Poor. The rosaries will air 5 times per day on CatholicTV and CatholicTV.com, from Oct. 3 through Oct. 11 each day at 3 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

The Little Sisters of the poor work with the elderly and dying in their ministry to bring God's love to those facing the end of their lives, as did Blessed Mother Theresa throughout her ministry.

"Mother Teresa began her special vocation to God's poor by aiding the dying people in the gutters of Calcutta. She took them on her back or in a wheelbarrow to an old abandoned Hindu temple where she cleaned them and fed them and did whatever possible so that they could die surrounded by God's love. She called this, 'doing something beautiful for God,'" the cardinal said.

"As Christians, we're all called to 'do something beautiful for God.' When we care for our sick and elderly, we are not only following the example of Christ and the saints, but we ourselves are doing it because we see God hidden in those who are most vulnerable, those most in need," he added.

Parishes will receive supporting materials for the novena this week.

More information on the archdiocese's educational campaign on physician assisted suicide is available at www.suicideisalwaysatragedy.org.