The Deacon's Bench

Here’s a moving, even inspiring story of how one priest is using his own illness and death to give a lesson in living:

At the St. Anne Catholic Church, people have heard many sermons about life and death.

But one a recent Sunday, they got unexpected news about the latter in the church bulletin.

Father John Robbins told his congregation he is dying of prostate cancer.It’s a battle he’s been fighting for more than 10 years.

“It’s going to be obvious in the not-too-distant future that I’m ill. I look pretty good now and can do most of what I have done, but I do feel myself getting weaker, and I thought I should tell them as opposed to them finding out by the grapevine,” Robbins said.

Father John has been at St. Anne for nearly a decade.

The New York native loved to play tennis, loves the movies and – most of all – loves the people of St. Anne.

Some parishioners say Father John is the glue that has bonded people from the two very different communities of River Oaks and Montrose.

In his 37 years as a priest, he’s sat at countless bedsides, comforting the dying.

And even now, as his days come to a close, Father John counsels the living.

“As a priest, my whole life has been an attempt to live our faith, which includes belief in a life after death and the message of the resurrection. And I would like to teach that lesson, as I have tried to teach the Gospel lessons, not just by what I say, but what I do,” Robbins said.

There’s more at the link, and KHOU’s video report, below.

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