Archbishop Joseph Kurtz is cancer-free

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz is cancer-free, grateful for his journey

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Archbishop Joseph Kurtz says he is now cancer-free after spending months in treatment in North Carolina.

The head of the Archdiocese of Louisville was diagnosed with bladder cancer last summer, but he is speaking to others about his experience with gratitude. Upbeat and smiling, Kurtz told his congregation recently that he is glad to be back behind the pulpit and glad that he cooperated with his doctors.

But that’s not all.

“I’m especially glad for the prayer and support that I received,” Kurtz said. “Especially glad for that.”

From the time he went public with his alarming diagnosis Kurtz has kept his congregations close and informed.

“I think it was kind of an educational experience for the people to know what the shepherd was going through,” Father Michael Wimsatt said. “And to be so relieved that the best-case scenario seems to be what happened.”

The archbishop’s eight rounds of chemo and multiple surgeries were bolstered by countless prayers and stacks of daily cards and letters. Spending months at the Duke Cancer Institute, Kurtz was never far from the thoughts of people in his home parish.

“It was always talked about,” Anne Ratterman, a member of the Archdiocese of Louisville, said. “It was always mentioned at every service, and I think really the whole archdiocese prayed for him, not just us.”

There will be periodic trips back to Duke for the archbishop for immunotherapy and examinations, but otherwise, he is home and has been enjoying being back on the job for weeks.

Kurtz admitted Thursday, though, that he must slow down. He’s also having a little problem with fatigue.

What hasn’t changed, however, is his gratitude for having had the experience.

“I think being able to sympathize with people who have a long-term illness,” Kurtz expressed a few months back, “I think that’s a healthy thing for me.”

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