Up Front and Personal

Devotion to St. Peregrine After Cancer Diagnosis

Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Raymond Chappetto

by Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Raymond Chappetto

“You have cancer.” The dreaded words that none of us wants to hear from our doctor, and yet so many people hear them every day. Perhaps you have heard those devastating words yourself, or maybe someone you love dearly has heard them.

On Christmas Eve 2020, at an early morning appointment, it was so very difficult when my doctor gave me this startling news.

“You have prostate cancer, but there are several options.”

News like this can only be shocking, painful, and terrifying. After a series of tests, it was determined that I was a candidate for the five-day radiation treatment called “CyberKnife” … no knife, but very heavy doses of radiation. It was hard to believe that this was going to happen.

It was my first bout with a serious illness, and I tried to be brave but made a terrible mistake of thinking that I could handle it alone. The treatments themselves were noninvasive and painless.

But I suffered from the after-effects that made me very sick, and I had to reach out for help. It is so much easier to help others rather than be helped.

The response I received from both clergy and lay friends was immediate, compassionate, and life-giving. As I battled with the physical and emotional pain, I realized more than ever how much my relationship with God meant to me.

I felt that God was testing me and knew that without my faith, it would not be possible to go through this ordeal. With faith it’s difficult, but without faith it’s impossible! I resonate with family members, parishioners, and friends who are dealing with cancer, and I pray for them to let God and others be part of their journey.

During my illness, I developed a devotion to St. Peregrine (died 1345), the patron saint of cancer patients. I felt the power of his intercession and want to continue to express my gratitude to him.

I look forward to celebrating a Mass of Healing in honor of St. Peregrine at St. Joseph Church in Astoria on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, at 7:30 p.m.

Those suffering with cancer and all those who are cancer survivors, like me, are welcome to attend.

St. Peregrine, pray for us!

Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Raymond Chappetto served as an auxiliary in the Diocese of Brooklyn from 2012 to 2022.