“I’m not busy dying. I’m living better.”
That’s one of several moving takeaways from Michael Paulson’s story in The Boston Globe–and brief video below–about Father James A. Field, a parish priest who is dying of pancreatic cancer. Everything about him speaks of a fine pastor, and an impending loss for the Church–but also of an even greater lesson:
He is 58 years old and he has pancreatic cancer, an incurable and fast-moving disease that he knows he can’t survive. And, in a step that has rallied the Parish of the Incarnation of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ around its pastor, Field is bringing the congregation along on his uncommonly public final journey, preaching and writing about each up and down. “This is what I got, and this is how I deal with it,” he says. “I’m a teacher, and this is a teachable moment.”
Field could have retired or gone on sick leave, but he has chosen to remain with the parish community he loves, and he is using the march of cancer across his body as a text from which to preach on Catholic notions about suffering, hope, and faith.
Watch the video here. It’s just over one minute.