Beyond the Moon and Stars: My Light Shines On

Recordings and resources

Beyond the Moon and Stars: My Light Shines On is a four-part series created for NCR readers. Each one-hour session invites participants to reflect on our beliefs, and how those beliefs inform the planning and decisions we make at end of life.
These are things we often don’t speak of: How do I want to be remembered? How should I think about my funeral? How will I communicate what matters to me? How will I care for my family? 

God gave each of us a unique light. That light is not put out when we die; it is not given to someone else. The light shines on. How will the unique light that God has given me shine on after I am gone?  
Session recordings:
Theme song: Beyond the Moon and Stars by Dan Schutte

Session resources

Session one: The Light Is Given

Presented by John Flaherty
Our baptismal theology is a river that runs its course through our life as Catholics. John started our series by discussing what our baptism reveals about the unique light that God has given to each of us, and how that light journeys with us throughout our lives.

Session two: May the Perpetual Light Shine Forever 

Presented by Michael Silhavy
Using the Church’s Order of Christian Funerals, Michael guided participants through a session that examined how the prayer of the Church at the time of death speaks to us about our lives. Michael provided suggestions about how to plan your own funeral, identifying those places within the rites that allow for you to let your unique light shine. 

Session three: Stewarding the Gift of Life

Presented by Sr. Jean deBlois, CSJ, Ph.D.
Flowing from Baptism, our dying is deeply connected to our living. Sr. Jean invited us to see our lives as a gift to steward and spoke about how the context of our faith shapes how we think about when to prolong life, and when to allow death to come. 
Resources—books and articles:
Resources—online presentations:

Session four: A Legacy of Light

Michael Murphy
All that we have is blessing from God. Michael invited us to consider how to steward our blessings after our death in a manner that is consistent with the passion and purpose with which we have lived. 
Including the National Catholic Reporter in your Estate planning
Your estate plan reflects the values and priorities you hold in life. Family first, then those causes that you believe in—the missions that reflect your values, and your passions. Like you, the National Catholic Reporter lives and works at the intersection of held belief and lived belief. 
Our reporting is made possible by gifts from you and others. You have been generous with NCR in your life. Would you permit NCR to carry your voice—your faith, values, and passions—to future generations by making a legacy gift to NCR?

Our Presentation Team

Session 1: John Flaherty

John is proud husband to Kathleen and dad to Clare, Kennith, James, Colin and Aidan. John’s 41-year career has been at the service of the Church as an educator, elementary school principal, music director, liturgy director and composer. He has taught at all levels, from elementary to postgraduate.

John has been with Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles for more than twenty-five years. Currently, he is the Associate Director of Campus Ministry and Director of Liturgy and Music. He also teaches in the University’s Center for Religion and Spirituality, where he serves as the Founding Director of the Pastoral Liturgy and Pastoral Music Certification programs.

John has planned and directed the music for the Episcopal ordinations and other major gatherings of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. John has taught in the Los Angeles Archdiocese and San Bernardino Diocese Diaconate Formation Programs.

John has served as the Chairperson of the Liturgy Committee and Music Director for the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress since 1991, the largest annual Catholic catechetical and liturgical gathering in the world.

He has worked extensively with the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, including having served as the music director for two national conferences of the USCCB - Encuentro 2000 and Jubilee Justice. For several years, John provided the music for the annual bishops retreat for Ecclesiastical Province of Los Angeles which includes the dioceses of Fresno, Monterey, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Especially noted for his love for, and expertise in, multi-cultural prayer and liturgy, John has served as music director for numerous conferences and liturgies throughout the United States. From large gatherings with the larger Church or smaller gatherings with her leaders, John counts it as privilege to have led thousands in prayer and worship. 

John holds Master’s degrees in liturgy and in Catholic school administration.

Session 2: Michael Silhavy

Michael Silhavy is Senior Project Editor at GIA Publications (Chicago) and has worked in parish, grade school, university, cathedral and diocesan settings. He is also director of music at St. Mary church, Riverside, IL.

Michael’s work at GIA centers around choral and congregational music, hymnals and working with composers and authors to create musical and liturgical resources for both Roman Catholic congregations and the wider ecumenical community. He is a regular contributor to the GIA Quarterly, writing on various liturgical and music topics. Currently, he is working with a team of ecumenical colleagues from across the country in creating a graveside prayer and music resource in response to the way the restrictions of the Covid 19 pandemic have affected the way families, friends and congregations gather to remember their dead. He was editor for the Blest Are Those Who Mourn, Second Edition, a hymnal and pastoral resource of music for the Order of Christian Funerals. 

Prior to joining GIA, Michael served as director of music at the Cathedral of Our Lady in Duluth, Minnesota, and as the Associate Director of the Worship Office for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis for fifteen years, where his responsibilities included liturgical and musical training and formation for clergy, parishes ministers and choir members. His music responsibilities in the archdiocese also included serving as the director of the archdiocesan choir. In addition to his chancery work, Michael served as a parish music director, allowing him to be grounded in the realities of parish life, and valuing the experience of weekly music-making with a congregation.

Michael is also a workshop presenter, frequently leading reading sessions around the country of new choral and congregational music. He joined with his GIA colleagues in presenting a number of webinars in 2020 addressing the challenges to liturgical and musical life in the parish brought about by the Covid 19 pandemic. 

He is a graduate of De Paul University (music education); Loyola University, Chicago (theology); and St. John’s University, Collegeville (liturgical studies).  

Session 3: Sr. Jean Katherine deBlois, CSJ

Sr. Jean Katherine deBlois, baptized Beverly, was born in San Francisco, California. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1968 and was received into the novitiate in 1969 in the Los Angeles province.

Before entering the congregation, she became a registered nurse. After entering, she received a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Mt. St. Mary College in Los Angeles in 1971 and worked as a critical care nurse and nursing supervisor at Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles. She received a Master’s degree in theology and ethics from the University of San Francisco in 1980 and a Ph.D. in moral theology and medical ethics from The Catholic University of America in 1988.

Sr. Jean transferred to the St. Louis Province after becoming a member of the faculty in the Department of Internal Medicine at St. Louis University Health Sciences Center, where she served as associate director of the Center for Healthcare Ethics from 1989 to 1993. During the next six years, she served at the Catholic Health Association as the senior associate for clinical ethics (1993-1997) and vice president of mission and sponsorship (1997-1999).

In 1999, Sr. Jean joined the faculty of Aquinas Institute of Theology, where she was a professor of moral theology and started and directed the MA in Health Care Mission program (2000-2016). She served her CSJ community as a provincial councilor (2002-2008). She also served as CSJ sponsor liaison to Ascension Health (2003-2008).

Since 2016, Sr. Jean has served as professor emerita/adjunct faculty at Aquinas Institute of Theology. She works with the Nazareth Living Center ethics committee and is an ethics consultant for the Hospital Sisters Health System in Springfield, Illinois.

For fun, Sr. Jean loves old movies and playing with her adopted friend, Joe, the late Sr. Pat Flavin’s beloved pup.

Session 4: Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy is the Executive Director of the International Catholic Stewardship Council. He has worked with the ICSC board of directors to bring Christian stewardship and Catholic philanthropy to the Catholic Church in Asia and Central and South America. He has addressed bishops’ conferences in the United States, the Philippines, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mr. Murphy established the first development office for the Archdiocese of Detroit in 1994 and served as its director as well as that of the Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation for 17 years. As a result of his own research and theological reflection on Christian stewardship, Mr. Murphy and his team developed a comprehensive manual for introducing parishes to stewardship. Now in its second printing, Called by Christ, Gifted by the Spirit, has enjoyed much success among parishes and dioceses in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and, in its Spanish-language version, in parts of Latin America.

Mr. Murphy’s team assisted the archbishop of Detroit in securing funds, both for the archdiocese and for Catholic institutions internationally, in an aggregate amount of $650 million over a span of 14 years. This included a $100 million archdiocesan endowment fund, the largest of its kind in the mid-90s; a $27.4 million scholarship fund for inner-city Catholic school children; and $352.6 million in archdiocesan annual appeal funds. The appeal itself yielded an average $30.2 million per year in funding over a nine-year period. It remains the largest diocesan annual appeal in North America.

A native Tennessean, Mr. Murphy was a practicing attorney who specialized in the areas of litigation and probate and estate planning. He studied in the divinity program at the University of Notre Dame, where he also earned a Master's degree in systematic theology.