I usually use this Archbishop’s Leadership Briefing to communicate about issues related to the sexual abuse of minors and the Church’s response. Because I have found this communication tool to be so effective and have heard positive responses from many of you, I would like to share some news about my health in today’s Briefing. (This information also will be included in a letter to the faithful that will appear in The Record tomorrow.)
Over the past few months, I have had some health issues that have resulted in medical tests and hospitalizations, and I can now confirm the diagnosis and the treatment plan. I have been diagnosed with urothelial carcinoma in my bladder and prostate and will take part in a treatment plan that includes immunotherapy and chemotherapy for at least 12 weeks. I am very grateful to Dr. Dan George, chief oncologist of the Duke University Cancer Institute, and his team, who will administer and oversee this treatment. At the end of the treatment, I will have surgery to have my bladder and prostate removed.
I feel well, and with the encouragement of Dr. George, I have remained active during this time. While the doctor gives me good cause for optimism, there are always dangers and unexpected issues that can arise during cancer treatment, so I ask for your continued prayers.
In order to facilitate this therapy regimen and deal with any side effects, I will remain in North Carolina during the entire length of the treatment. During this time, I will be in regular contact with Father Martin Linebach, Vicar General, and Dr. Brian Reynolds, Chancellor, in order to insure that proper pastoral leadership and care is provided within the Archdiocese. I also have been in touch with Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Papal Nuncio to the United States, and he is supportive of the plan I have developed.
Needless to say, I will miss the many opportunities I have to visit parishes and talk with so many of you at upcoming events this summer and fall. You will be in my prayers. Please keep me in yours.