Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 3, 1991
Bishop To Have Kidney Surgery
By Gretchen Keiser
Bishop James P. Lyke, OFM, is scheduled to enter St. Josephs Hospital January 7 to have surgery removing his right kidney, and expects to undergo a month of recuperation at home afterward.
The bishop, who is apostolic administrator, wrote a letter to the people of the archdiocese this week informing them of the surgery and saying that it has been prompted by the discovery of a tumor on the kidney. Because of the size of the tumor, the entire kidney most likely will be removed, the letter said.
He said the tumor was discovered in December after doctors sought reason for periodic pain he has had, which predated his coming to the archdiocese. I want you to know about this surgery because, early on in my time in the archdiocese, so many of you cautioned me about overwork and stress, Bishop Lyke wrote. You should know that this impending surgery is not related to either.
The bishop also asked that people show their concern by their prayers, and by generosity in a special collection for the homeless to be held late in January, rather than by sending him flowers and cards. He also encouraged pastors in their commitment to the Archdiocesan Annual Appeal, which will be launched in January.
Bishop Lyke, who will be 52 in February, said this is his first serious illness and has prompted him to reflect on his blessings, including his family, friends, Franciscan life, priesthood and the people of the archdiocese. The complete text of his letter follows:
January 3, 1991
Memorials of St. Gregory the Great
and St. Basil Nazianzen
To the Catholics of the Church of North Georgia
Dear Friends in Christ:
I write to inform you that I shall enter St. Josephs Hospital on January 7 for surgery. The doctor shall remove a tumor on my right kidney. While the tumor does not appear to be malignant, because of its size, the doctor judges that he will have the remove the entire right kidney. It will take a month for me to recuperate, after which I will be able to function at my normal pace.
I want you to know about this surgery because, early on in my time in the archdiocese, so many of you cautioned me about overwork and stress. You should know that this impending surgery is not related to either. In fact, I had experienced periodic pain for the past few years, but former analysis did not uncover any significant health problems.
For me, this is really the first serious illness Ive had to face in my life. It has given me the opportunity to reflect on the transitory nature of life and the blessings God has bestowed upon me, particularly the gifts of family and friends, Franciscan life, ordained priesthood, and, my most recent blessing, the wonderful people of the archdiocese of Atlanta. Truly, God has smiled on me.
Other thoughts come to my mind as well. When I enter St. Josephs Hospital, I shall be well cared for and nurtured by Dr. Ned France, the Sisters of Mercy, and the exceptional staff of the hospital. I will have a home away from home. However, I think of the countless homeless persons in our archdiocesan area who are literally without a home and a family to care for them. As with the Christ Child, There is no place for them in the inn.
Thus, I take this occasion to ask you to be generous in the upcoming collection for the homeless. Homeless persons with AIDS (there are over 100 in the Atlanta area alone) are particularly destitute, since so many of us are unenlightened about the nature of their illness and the consequent fear places a barrier between us. Please do not send me flowers or cards; instead, I ask only for your prayers for me and for the homeless and for your generosity in this forthcoming collection. Like the Magi, come bearing gifts for the homeless, in whose faces, as Mother Teresa would say, We see the distressing disguise of Christ.
Secondly, as a result of the time for recovery, I shall miss a very important meeting with our priests on our Archdiocesan Annual Appeal. When I think of our Vision and Mission Statement, which was ratified by all pastors, parishes, and missions, I recognize that we cannot give concrete form to our Vision and Mission we cannot be truly and authentically Catholic in practice without the resources to respond to the call of the Gospel and the countless needs of the Church and cries of help we hear from so many.
I want our pastors to know that I shall be with them in prayer and spirit for the January 16th meeting on the Appeal. I ask for their presence at this meeting, and I pray that they shall leave this convocation with renewed excitement and commitment for the Gospel and the teachings of the Church as reflected in our Vision and Mission Statement.
From the people of the archdiocese, I beg the fullest participation in the activities of the Appeal and a renewed sense of stewardship. Extraordinary generosity will be required of all of us as we place ourselves at the service of the Gospel and commit ourselves to practical, Good Samaritan-like love for Gods people.
God has begun a good work in us all on the day of our Baptism. May God bring the fruits of our Baptism to effective fulfillment for the sake of the Kingdom.
The Lord Bless and keep you
Most Reverend James P. Lyke, O.F.M., Ph.D.
Apostolic Administrator, sede vacante