Bishop tells his congregation he probably has only weeks to live

THE Roman Catholic Bishop of East Anglia- that includes Cambridgeshire-has told his congregation he probably has only weeks to live.

In a letter, which was read at mass across the diocese this morning, the Rt Rev Michael Evans, who was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer five years ago, said his condition had deteriorated fast and has “rather quickly taken control”.

His doctors told him before Christmas he had only weeks to live, but Bishop Michael said he would like to continue as Bishop until his death.

The letter, posted on his website, said: “In the last few weeks, the cancer has rather quickly taken control. My oncology and palliative care consultants informed me openly and honestly just before Christmas that I now probably have only weeks to live, and I am as prepared for that as I can be, accepting it with faith as a gift of God’s grace.”

He added: “Rather than resign, I would like to continue among you as your bishop and the father of our diocesan family until this stage of my life ends. I do not know how long that will be. I am most grateful for the ways you have cared for and so prayerfully supported me in recent years. You remain very much in my thoughts and care. As I am sure you understand, I am able to do very little, and will need to rely on others. Please can I ask you to limit any expressions of care to prayer for now, rather than anything else to which I cannot respond.”

Bishop Michael was ordained as the third bishop of East Anglia at the Cathedral Church of St John the Baptist in Norwich in March 2003.

The life-long Leeds United Football Club supporter was appointed chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Committee for Christian Unity, and elected as a member of the standing committee of the Bishops’ Conference.

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He is also one of the four Christian co-presidents of the new Christian-Muslim Forum established by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In his letter he told members of the diocese: “We have moved forward and outward together as a diocese, although not all of you may be have been happy with the directions we have taken.

“I am sorry for any ways I have failed in my ministry during those years. There remain a number of difficulties on my desk which will need to be handled by others.”

Bishop Michael has been receiving treatment at the Colney Centre at the Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital, and his local surgery.

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