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The gift of accompaniment: reflections and activities

James O'Brien  |  04 September 2018

Read The gift of accompaniment in the 2018 Spring edition of Australian Catholics and take part in the various reflections and activities.


  • Why did Michael give up his trumpet? What about this decision would have been painful? What did his trumpet symbolise?
  • Why then did he bring his trumpet out again? What had changed?
  • How did his loved ones and carers accompany Michael?
  • What meaning did he discover in the midst of his suffering?
  • In the end Michael rediscovered his true self. What did this mean for Michael?


  • People experiencing old age often have a lot of wisdom to share with younger people. Create five interview questions for an elderly person you know and admire, with the aim to find out what gives them meaning.
  • Activities help human beings at all ages experience meaning. In groups of three, create a day’s timetable of what you would include if you were the ‘Activities Coordinator’ at a nursing home for one day. Report back to your class what you have included in your plan, and why.
  • Music therapy utilises the healing power of music to meet people’s physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. Treatment can include creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Imagine you are a ‘music therapist’ in a palliative care hospice, for people such as Michael. How would you find out what kinds of music your patients enjoyed? What would you try to do with your choice of music?

For younger students

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to love, forgive, and ‘be compassionate as your Father is compassionate’ (Luke 6:36).

The literal meaning of the word ‘compassion’ is ‘to suffer with.’ Who do you know who is suffering? What is one thing you can do to show your compassion to this person? Share your thoughts with a fellow student.

Create a drawing representing a time you received compassion from another person. Underneath your drawing, explain what happened and how this made you feel.



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