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Monday, May 24, 2010
Prayers for Philip Gerard Johnson

Please pray for this seminarian who is in great need of our prayers.  Here us a copy of the article that I read.
I’ve written before about Philip Gerard Johnson, a terrific young man who was serving as a US naval officer when – as he records on his blog – he was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer in 2008. His response was to enter a seminary, in the hope that he would be allowed the time to fulfil his greatest ambition: celebrating Mass in the traditional form of the Roman Rite that he loves so much.
Philip has completed a year at seminary and was due to start a summer placement – but the latest scan shows that his tumour has grown and so he’ll be spending his time recuperating at a parish in North Carolina after gruelling treatment. As he says in his latest post, he’ll be taking “harsh chemotherapy drugs with very unpleasant side effects, and there are significant risks of internal bleeding and blood clots involved when taking them”.

It’s a sad irony: a seminarian who represents the future of the Church, finds his own future threatened by illness. His blog, In Caritate Non Ficta, abounds with a good humour and spiritual serenity that very, very few of us could muster in his circumstances. Actually, given some of the recent comments that have appeared on this blog (and I have to take my full share of blame for this) it seems that even those of us in perfect health can’t manage even a shred of Philip’s charity.

This latest medical setback makes me wonder whether, given the exceptional circumstances, the Church can’t hurry things on a little. (Maybe it’s a silly comparison, but John Henry Newman had been a Catholic for less than 18 months when he was ordained deacon one day and priest the next.) However, that’s really none of my business. What is my business, I think, is to encourage Christian readers of the blog to pray for Philip; and perhaps he will pray for us, too.


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