A MASS to pray for Bishop Michael Putney has overflowed Townsville’s Sacred Heart Cathedral with more than 1000 people attending.
The people gathered on the night of January 10 to pray for the bishop who has been diagnosed with inoperable stomach cancer which has also spread to his liver.
Townsville diocesan communications officer Neil Helmore said people from all walks of life and faiths gathered to offer prayers and support for their much-loved bishop.
“The congregation included State and Federal politicians, Church leaders and Catholic agency representatives,” he said.
“Also present were members of the many nationalities that Bishop Michael has embraced and supported, and children he has inspired.”
Mr Helmore said acting vicar general Fr Michael Taylor “had spoken passionately in his homily” about Townsville’s ailing bishop.
“Fr Michael said Bishop Michael is very composed and peaceful,” he said.
“He sees the road ahead as very much part of what God wants him to do.
“In his homily, Fr Michael said he expects that Bishop Michael will deliver some of his most inspiring homilies when he returns.
“However, Fr Michael said that the greatest homily the bishop will give will not be from the pulpit, but by the way he lives out these months ahead.
“We will also hear the utter truth of how mighty God’s love is, the utter truth about how precious every human being is and the utter truth that human suffering does not diminish a person’s beauty, sacredness or dignity.”
Mr Helmore said as the congregation dispersed, people were sharing stories of their own personal relationships with Bishop Putney and the love and care he shows each and every person he meets.
Meanwhile, the diocese released a statement on January 9, with Fr Taylor saying that medical specialists in Brisbane had indicated to Bishop Putney that the cancer affecting him was “untreatable and incurable”.
Fr Taylor said Bishop Putney would undergo a course of chemotherapy to alleviate some of the symptoms.
Bishop Putney was to return to Townsville last week to continue his role as Bishop of Townsville for as long as he is able.