One of the great challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is the likelihood of being unable to be physically present with a loved one at the end of their life.
When a loved one is dying we tend to feel helpless and unsure. But now, in these unprecedented times, we are faced with the very real possibility that we cannot be at their bedside.
Nevertheless it is still possible to pray for them.
We also offer a brief reflection which might provide support to those faced with the prospect of a loved one dying in isolation, away from human contact other than nursing staff or carers.
The reflection is given by Fr George Bowen, a member of the Community of Fathers of the London Oratory.
The following Catholic prayers may also help you and them at this time:
When the moment of death seems near, the following prayer may be said:
I commend you, my dear brother/sister,
to almighty God,
and entrust you to your Creator.
May you return to Him
who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life.
May Christ who was crucified for you
bring you freedom and peace.
May Christ who died for you
admit you into his garden of paradise.
May Christ, the true Shepherd,
Acknowledge you as one of his flock.
May He forgive all your sins,
And set you among those He has chosen.
May you see your Redeemer face to face,
And enjoy the vision of God for ever.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help, or sought your intercession
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To you I come,
before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in your mercy, hear and answer me.
Our Lady of Lourdes.
Pray for us.
Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father,
who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, Son of the living God,
who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who was poured out upon you,
go forth, faithful Christian,
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints.
Read more prayers and reflections for the dying here.