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Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE sent on Aug. 25 the following message to clergy and parish and diocesan leadership:

My Sisters and Brothers,

As my date of retirement nears, I want to be in touch with all of you and to thank you for your continued expressions of care and concern.  We have known since the beginning, when I was diagnosed with brain cancer in May of last year, that we are dealing with a difficult kind of cancer.  We have been hopeful in the therapies we’ve pursued over these months, but we now know that for me there is no cure.  At the recommendation of my medical team, I’ve decided now to pursue a course of treatment that will provide a good quality of life, though for how long, we can’t be sure.

As hard as this is to hear and to tell, I didn’t want this time to go by without letting all of you know where things are.  My medical team continues to provide me with excellent care, and I have a wonderful community of support around me.  My prayer feels different from day to day.  Some days there is an expansiveness to it, and on other days, it isn’t so easy, though there aren’t too many of those days.  But throughout, good days and more difficult days, I feel supported by you, the people of this diocese and beyond, and by your prayers, and I’ve felt my faith life grow in significant ways.  I am looking forward to what God will bring in this new time.

You know, time too often in our culture is perceived as a problem; all of us, at some point, feel we don’t have enough of it. Yet, because of Jesus the Messiah, all time is now God’s time.  It is part of the unfolding of God’s glory.  We are invited into it as an experience of the presence of God.  I believe that is where our prayer, where our life together in gathered community, where our participation with God in making all things new is taking us: into the heart of God. 

May each of us be opened to the possibility and the hope offered through God’s gift of time.

Our bishop-elect, Alan, will keep you informed of changes in my condition going forward.  I continue to cherish your cards and letters, and I want to say again how much I appreciate the years I’ve served as your bishop and all that you have taught me.  I plan to be part of the upcoming consecration, and I look forward to joining you in welcoming our new bishop.

Please pray for me as I pray for you.


M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE


Fifty years ago we were rooming together at Alma College. We shared some wonderful experiences together. Your accomplishments since then have been truly in keeping with the desires you expressed even then. Congratulations to you for all you have given to so many. You will always be in our minds and hearts.

Your friend,

Bill Petti

From: Bill Petti
Location/Parish: Frankfort, Michigan

Thank you, Bishop Shaw for all the help and kindnesses you have given and shown us at.St. Paul's Church in Nantucket.
You are in our prayers,

From: Randy Wight
Location/Parish: St. Paul' Church in Nantucket

Dear Bishop Shaw: You are and have been in my prayers for your health. I am a former student of St. Anne's School + Convent, Arlington, many decades ago.
We never forget the Cowley Fathers who served us so well during my schooling at St. Anne's. They were friendly, kind, and had a wonderful approach to the worship of God. The Sung Masses were well appreciated and of great beauty. I and my family wish you well. Carol Rae Bradford, an author

From: Carol (Rae) Bradford
Location/Parish: Somerville, MA

Dear Bishop Shaw,
I admire your continuing strength and courage and you have been in my prayers each and every day. My uncle had a similar diagnosis with similar results so I know how difficult this is not only for you but for your family, loved ones and friends. Choosing quality of life, I believe, is what the Lord would want you to do. You continue to be a wonderful example of God's grace at work in our lives. May He continue to bless you with courage and strength.

From: Linda Cleary
Location/Parish: Christ Church - Andover

Dear Bishop Shaw
Thank you for your letter of inspiration, you are in my thoughts and prayers as you travel in sacred communion in God's Love and Blessings. We first met at St. Mary of the Harbor, Provincetown, Ma. and again silently in retreat at St.John's Monastery, many years ago. Thank you for being a spiritual and caring witness, as l explored the wonders of blessed awakenings. May your journey be blessed and peaceful,thank you for continuing to teach us....thy good and faithful servant.

From: Pastor Brenda Haywood
Location/Parish: Universalist Meetinghouse, Provincetown,Ma

Thank you for sharing a very difficult time in your life. My prayers are with you every step in this journey, that you have allow us to participate by sharing your message of inspiration & struggles. May we uplift you in love & feel the presence of being wrapped in prayer.

From: Dorothy Wilson
Location/Parish: Church of the Resurrection , Pointe Claire, Quebec Canada

Dear Bishop Tom, remember the Father is always with you !!!

From: Spencer Alphonso Felder
Location/Parish: St. Peter's/San Pedro -Salem, MA


I wish you every grace and comfort I can conjure up for you. You took a green warden and helped him to help move all of us to a better place. You are blessed by me and by all of us. My prayers and support go with you always.

From: Norm Farris
Location/Parish: Church of the Good Shepherd, Acton

Dear Bishop Shaw,
Please know you will be in my thoughts and prayers in the months and hopefully years to come. It was an honor to serve on the World Mission Legislative Committee with you at GC2012.

From: Jack Tull
Location/Parish: Redeemer, Jacksonville, FL, Diocese of Florida

Bishop Tom,

I will never forget when you came to All Saints for our Christmas Eve Service. My two grandchildren were up at the alter with you as were other children when you sat down at the alter with all of them. It was the best service ever. You were so calming and you let every child speak and participate in the service. You will always be in my heart and you will be in my prayers. Thank you for being a big part of our little parish and deeply caring for all of us. Karen and Bill Simmons

From: Karen Simmons
Location/Parish: All Saints West Newbury