Archbishop Beuchlein, facing tumor surgery, reflects on the nature of illness

Archbishop of Indianapolis Daniel M. Beuchlein.
Archbishop of Indianapolis Daniel M. Beuchlein.


Archbishop of Indianapolis Daniel M. Beuchlein, O.S.B., will undergo surgery to remove a small tumor as a precautionary measure, he announced on Monday. He said his health problems have driven him to pray for others and to contemplate a “deeper understanding” of illness.

The archbishop said a recent medical checkup revealed the tumor, which his doctors believe to be benign. Though further test results are awaited, he expects to have surgery in mid- or late April. He may need four to five weeks’ recovery time.

“I regret the interruption this may cause in my normal obligations,” Archbishop Beuchlein wrote, reporting that he did not expect the day-to-day operations of the archdiocese to be greatly affected.

“We are blessed to have so many dedicated and hardworking clergy, religious and parish life coordinators as well as an excellent administrative staff. Our many ministries will continue as usual,” he said.

Previously, the archbishop has suffered from Hodgkin’s lymphoma but the tumor is not related. He has also had a complete shoulder replacement and a kidney stone surgically removed.

“One of the difficulties about my health problems is that they become public because of my absence from liturgical ceremonies during recovery,” he commented in a March 19 column for the archdiocesan newspaper.

One of the “positive consequences” of his cancer is the impetus to spend more time praying for others who have cancer or other debilitating illnesses.

“During chemotherapy, I learned to sit patiently and pray. Anyone who has been sick and waits for a doctor’s appointment or lies on a gurney waiting for a scan of some kind knows what I mean. I especially notice how much poor people have to wait for even the most basic needs of their lives.”

The archbishop wrote that he will always pray for a “deeper understanding” of the meaning of his affliction with cancer.

“I know God does not want bad things to happen to us. But he permits it. I guess since original sin some things go wrong simply because they can. And it is important to see them as opportunities to join our suffering to those of Christ.”

Archbishop Beuchlein closed his Monday statement by voicing appreciation for prayers.

“Please know that I will continue to pray for all of you.”

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