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08/22/2013:  Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE sent the following update today to diocesan clergy and leadership regarding his ongoing cancer treatment.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Tracy J. SukrawBishop Tom Shaw and Bishop Gayle Harris, at work together on Aug. 22 in West NewburyTracy J. SukrawBishop Tom Shaw and Bishop Gayle Harris, at work together on Aug. 22 in West NewburyYesterday I had a meeting with the medical team that has been caring for me at the Dana Farber Cancer Center.  Earlier in the morning I had had an MRI so they could evaluate the effectiveness of the summer months of chemotherapy and radiation.  The team couldn't have been more pleased with the results of the treatment so far, and so my treatment will continue according to plan.  I will resume chemotherapy next week but it will be limited to five consecutive days of chemotherapy each month for about a year.

As you can imagine, I was deeply relieved with this report and incredibly grateful to God, the medical team, those who have given me pastoral care and help over the past few months in my community and in the diocese, my family and to all of you for your prayers, your letters, notes, phone calls and gifts.  The support I have received from all of you has opened me to the power of the Holy Spirit during these difficult months of treatment and uncertainty.

This is an exciting year we have ahead of us in our diocese:  our B-PEACE antiviolence campaign; the election of a new bishop; having the resources, because of everyone's participation in our Together Now campaign, to initiate projects that will strengthen the witness of our church; and time for all of you to think and pray, to listen to one another, about how God might be calling our diocese to continue to build the kingdom of God in eastern Massachusetts with our new bishop and Bishop Gayle.

And I so look forward to having this next year to thank all of you for all you have taught me and all you have done for the witness of Christ in the almost 20 years we have worked together.  Last Sunday I went to St. Luke's Church in Fall River to baptize Wyatt Branco, the child of one of our first Youth Leadership Academy members, Brian Branco.  One of the godparents, Il Cheng, was also an early member of the YLA. Those young people, in those early years, taught me so much.  It was an opportunity for me to thank them for all they have done to widen my vision of God and the work of the diocese.

In many, many ways, you have all done as Brian and Il have done for me and for our church.  I look forward to these next months to thank you for all you have given me in my life with God and for all you have done to proclaim God's word to the larger world.  We begin this new program year with Bishop Gayle and with me in strengthening health and full of gratitude and hope for the church.  Know of our prayers and please continue to offer yours.

Faithfully,

Tom