In honor of National Donor Sabbath, the Archdiocese of New York sent a letter from Vicar General Reverend Monsignor Joseph P. LaMorte to all Archdiocesan priests in support of organ donation. LiveOnNY extends its deepest thanks to the Archdiocese for helping to raise awareness about this important issue. Please see below for the text of the letter:
“During these months of concern and uncertainty, we all search for signs of hope and healing. One particularly effective way to bring light out of this darkness is through organ and tissue donation. Such donations are selfless acts of kindness and generosity, extending to another person the precious gift of life and health.
November has been designated as National Donor Sabbath by the organization LiveOnNY, the federally designated organ procurement organization for New York City, and is dedicated to elevating the power of faith-based communities to bring hope to those waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. I ask that you take a moment to learn more and consider what you can do, through bulletin announcements to enlighten your parishioners to serve others in this way.
Here in New York, there are nearly 10,000 children and adults on the organ transplant waiting list. These are our family, friends, neighbors and fellow parishioners and they need our help. Pope St. John Paul II summed it up well in Evangelium Vitae when he wrote, “There is an everyday heroism, made up of gestures of sharing, big or small, which build up an authentic culture of life. A particularly praiseworthy example of such gestures is organ donation, performed in an ethically acceptable manner, with a view to offering a chance of health and even of life itself to the sick who sometimes have no other hope. As it states in Matthew 10:8 “Cure the sick … Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
Being a registered organ donor gives us the opportunity to provide our vulnerable brothers and sisters with a second chance at life. Some of them are our own brothers in the priesthood. The number of individuals registered to become organ donors increased significantly in the last year. There is even a new sitcom, B Positive, that calls attention to it. However, we still have much work to do and lives are still in peril. As Pope Francis recently said, “Organ donation is not only an act of social responsibility, but also an expression of the universal fraternity which binds all men and women together.”
When I was a pastor, I had a very personal experience with organ donation. Back in 2017, I spent the day at Elmhurst Hospital with a parish family whose daughter lay unconscious from an unexpected fall. It was determined that Kate would not survive. Her family was unaware when they were notified that she was an organ donor. LiveOnNY staff sensitively stayed with them while the organs were made available for transplant. To this day, it gives them great solace to know that, in her death, her unselfish act allowed five other people to live, including one “directed” gift of a kidney to the relative of a close family friend. Kate’s heart, kidneys, liver and lungs were harvested.
I want to thank LiveOnNY, the organization that oversees organ donation in the greater-New York area, for reminding us about how precious life is and how we can help extend that preciousness to others. And thanks to all of you for the charity and kindness you offer in the name of Christ each day. May God continue to bless you with the ability to share His word, to give hope, and to be of service to others.”