Statement on Divine Mercy Supportive Care

The following is a statement by the Archdiocese of Denver on Divine Mercy Supportive Care:

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Since 2014, many of you have learned about and been supportive of Divine Mercy Supportive Care’s work to bring faith-filled, professional hospice care to those approaching the end of their life. The archdiocese is sincerely grateful to Deacon Alan Rastrelli, M.D., and the many staff members who dedicated themselves to providing authentic Catholic care until he left in February 2017.

Around the same time, the archdiocese developed concerns about Divine Mercy Supportive Care’s business practices and Catholic identity and attempted to engage in dialogue with its leadership. Unfortunately, these attempts over several months were unsuccessful and led to the archdiocese withdrawing its ongoing support from Divine Mercy Supportive Care, including removing it from the Official Catholic Directory.

Since the decision to withdraw the archdiocese’s support, Divine Mercy Supportive Care has been acquired and is now under new management. It has been rebranded as Divine Hospice & Palliative Care, and the archdiocese is discussing with the new owners the extent to which it intends to follow Catholic standards for end-of-life care.  For those in need of end-of-life care, please consider the resources listed below.

End of Life Resources

Counseling
The organizations listed below offer counseling for those struggling with the issues raised by terminal illness, such as a loss of autonomy, a perceived decrease in the quality of life, coping with grief and loss, and the impact of illness on family members.

• Sacred Heart Counseling Services is a ministry of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver and has multiple locations across northern Colorado.

• St. Raphael Counseling is a Catholic apostolate with offices in Denver, Littleton and Louisville.

End of Life Care

• Porter Hospice & St. Anthony Hospice serve the Denver Metro area.

• Collier Hospice Center, Good Samaritan Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital all provide hospice and palliative care.

• Dominican Home Health Agency provides medical equipment and in-home nursing visits to the poor, sick elderly.

COMING UP: ‘Baptize your son,’ her friend insisted. Now he’s a priest.

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Angela Brown and Maria Delfin were great friends in school and lived in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. One day, they decided to make a mutual promise: “When I have my first child, you will be the godmother.”

Years went by, each took their own path and Delfin spent most of their time apart in the United States. In 1987, Brown was expect-ing her first child. Delfin found out and did not forget her promise. “When will you baptize him?” she asked. Yet, Brown hadn’t planned on baptizing her child. She had not even received the sacrament herself.

“When I thought of having Maria be my son’s godmother, I saw it more as a social commitment,” Brown told the Denver Catholic. Nonetheless, after her friend insisted, she decided to baptize her son when he was 17 days old.

After baptism, Delfin moved to the United States permanently and lost touch with Brown and Angel, her godson.

Angel grew up far from the Church, but even then, he reflected a charitable spirit: “He liked to share his toys with other kids so they could play instead of him,” his mother said.

At age 14, he attended a class with the Neocatechumenal Way and he and his mother began a journey of faith. Brown was baptized in the faith and married through the Church. Angel discovered his vocation to the priesthood years later. He studied for two years in the seminary at Santo Domingo and then was assigned to Redemptoris Mater in Denver.

Father Angel Perez-Brown (center) was reunited with his godmother Maria Delfin (right) after 31 years at his ordination May 19. His mother, Angela Brown (left) baptized Father Angel under the insistence of Delfin. (Photo by Andrew Wright )

Meanwhile, Delfin knew nothing of Angel. “I didn’t go to Santo Domingo often. I had no way of getting in touch with him,” she told the Denver Catholic.

When Angel was in the seminary, his mother decided to look for Delfin through social media. Months before Angel’s priestly ordi-nation, Brown found Delfin and told her about her son’s wish: “He wants you to be there when he receives the sacrament.” Delfin didn’t hesitate to fly to Denver.

They met the day prior to ordination, 31 years after Angel’s baptism. She recognized him amid other seminarians and said to him, “I’m your godmother,” and he hugged her.

Father Angel Miguel Perez-Brown was ordained May 19 with four other deacons. His godmother presented the gifts during offer-tory. “I don’t remember feeling as happy as I feel today,” Delfin said after Angel’s ordination.

Father Perez-Brown says her godmother “helped plant this seed,” that is why he wanted her “to witness the fruit she has bore.”

“If she had not influenced my mother, I don’t know where I would be today,” the newly-ordained priest said.

Before Delfin’s return to Orlando, Father Perez-Brown told her, “You already had 30 years of vocation as godmother. Now, please pray for me, because only with prayer will I be a faithful priest.”

Featured image by Anya Semenoff