My dear sisters and brothers,
For the past 11 years, I have been treated for Type II diabetes. For a little more than a year, I have been suffering from chronic kidney disease, which is now at Stage IV. This means that I will in the near future begin dialysis.
Over the past two months I have had a series of medical procedures to prepare for dialysis. One of these procedures had complications which necessitated a hospital stay due to an infection which is now being treated by intravenous antibiotics.
When I begin dialysis, after a period of training at a center, my dialysis will be done at home six days a week, up to three hours per day.
This should enable me to be able to continue an active work schedule both in the office and for the celebration of liturgies in our parishes.
I am very grateful for the wonderfully competent and dedicated staff that work with me. With their help, the work of the diocese continues. Their dedication and pastoral concern are a great gift to all of us here in the Diocese of Camden.
This illness, with its inconveniences and diminished strength and energy, has provided me with a graced opportunity for deeper prayer and reflection. I have come more and more to appreciate and cherish the relationship I have with you, my people. My love for you, the Church of South Jersey, continues to deepen. I daily offer to our Heavenly Father my illness with all that goes with it for you, that you may have a deeper faith and trust in Jesus and more fervent practice of that faith.
This illness has, in God's Providence, brought me ever close to you whom I serve and has given me a greater appreciation of what it means to be a bishop. As St. Augustine said so eloquently, "with you I am a Christian, for you, I am a leader (shepherd)." I am discovering that shepherding is more than the public expression but can be a joyful and willing acceptance of God's Presence, even in our weakness and limitations.
I thank you for you prayer and your patience. Please know that you are continually in my prayers, in my thoughts and in my heart.
May God continue to bless you and guide you,