BRIGHTON, Mass. (www.incnow.tv) - Bishop Emeritus John D'Arcy was celebrating Mass at a Boston area parish the weekend after Christmas when he knew something was not right.
His vision was blurry; he felt nauseous and struggled to finish the liturgy. So much so, D'Arcy went to the emergency room at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Boston. Tests revealed he has cancer.
"When the doctor came to me, I said ‘I’m a good specimen,’” D’Arcy, 80, tells 21Alive’s Melissa Long in an exclusive interview. “He said, ‘You have cancer of the lung. That’s the primal place. And it has spread to the brain.'”
D'Arcy was diagnosed and beat prostate cancer in 2011. This latest diagnosis is unrelated.
Word of Bishop D'Arcy's illness got back to the parishes of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend over the next few days and weeks.
"I have a very rare form of cancer. Very rare," D'Arcy wrote in a Jan. 9 letter to the diocese, from where he retired in 2010. (read the entire letter here)
While D'Arcy was merely on Christmas vacation some 800 miles away from Fort Wayne, he's relieved the cancer diagnosis came while he was in his native Boston, a place he glowingly still calls home.
"My dear sisters and my long time assistant, Maureen Schott, are here,” the bishop says. “They’re getting me every day to the treatment. I can see it is His providence that He brought me to them at this time.”
Extended Interview: Bishop D'Arcy Health Update
D’Arcy says he has very little pain, hardly has any weakness and sleeps well and eats fine.
"It’s a shock," Sr. Anne D'Arcy, CSJ, says. “I don’t think I could comprehend it.
Like her older brother, Sr. Anne took up a religious vocation as a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Bishop Emeritus John M. D'Arcy was born Aug. 18, 1932. His parents, Michael and Margaret (Doran) D'Arcy, immigrated to the United States from Ireland in the 1920s. They married in 1930, and had four children: John, Anne, Joan and Mary. Mary died in 2007.
The D'Arcy family lived in a quaint home in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston, and remains in the family nearly 70 years later. The family attended Our Lady of the Presentation Catholic Church, which closed in 2004.
Extended Interview: D'Arcy Family
"The three things for us were the home, the church and the ballpark," D’Arcy remembers. “All were in walking distance. The seminary where I studied was in walking distance.”
The bishop attended at St. John's Seminary; and was eventually ordained a priest Feb. 2, 1957, at age 24. D'Arcy spent much of his time in Boston preaching in local parishes and teaching at St. John's Seminary.
On Feb. 11, 1975, D'Arcy was consecrated an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston.
"To have them both living when he was made auxliary bishop," Sr. Anne says, “that was a double joy.”
For the next decade, Bishop D'Arcy would serve as titular bishop of Mediana and regional bishop of Lowell, serving under both Humberto Sousa Cardinal Medeiros and Bernard Cardinal Law.
In part 2 of Melissa Long's exclusive interview on Wednesday at 5 p.m., Bishop Emeritus John D'Arcy talks about his arrival in Fort Wayne-South Bend and his love for the people of the diocese. Click on the video icons for the newscast version of part 1 and extended interviews, and be sure to view a special photo album of Bishop D'Arcy on this page.
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