‘Our lives are worth living': Seminarian with terminal brain cancer responds to Brittany Maynard

A beautiful testimony, from the Diocese of Raleigh web site:

Philip Johnson, a 30-year-old Catholic seminarian from the Diocese of Raleigh who has terminal brain cancer, has written an article responding to Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old woman who has publicly stated her plan to commit suicide due to the fact that she has a terminal brain cancer. Johnson is vocal about his disagreement that suicide would preserve one’s dignity in the face of a debilitating illness. His article is below:


Dear Brittany: Our Lives Are Worth Living, Even With Brain Cancer

by Philip G. Johnson

Last week I came across the heartbreaking story of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer one year after her wedding.  When doctors suggested that she might only have six months to live, she and her family moved from California to Oregon in order to obtain the prescriptions necessary for doctor-assisted euthanasia.  She is devoting her last days to fundraising and lobbying for an organization dedicated to expanding the legality of assisted suicide to other States.

Brittany’s story really hit home, as I was diagnosed with a very similar incurable brain cancer in 2008 at the age of twenty-four.  After years of terrible headaches and misdiagnosis, my Grade III brain cancer (Anaplastic Astrocytoma) proved to be inoperable due to its location.  Most studies state that the median survival time for this type of cancer is eighteen months, even with aggressive radiation and chemotherapy.  I was beginning an exciting career as a naval officer with my entire life ahead of me.  I had so many hopes and dreams, and in an instant they all seemed to be crushed.  As Brittany said in her online video, “being told you have that kind of timeline still feels like you’re going to die tomorrow.”

I was diagnosed during my second Navy deployment to the Northern Arabian Gulf.  After many seizures, the ship’s doctor sent me to the naval hospital on the Persian Gulf island nation of Bahrain, where my brain tumor was discovered.  I remember the moment I saw the computer images of the brain scans – I went to the Catholic chapel on base and fell to the floor in tears.  I asked God, “why me?”  The next day, I flew home to the United States to begin urgent treatment.  A few months after radiation and chemotherapy, I was discharged from the Navy and began formation for the Roman Catholic priesthood, a vocation to which I have felt called since I was nineteen years old.  Despite all of the hardships and delays in my training and formation over the past six years, I hope to be ordained to the transitional diaconate this Spring and to the priesthood one year later.

Read the rest at the Diocese of Raleigh web site.

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Nurse with Ebola uplifted by prayer and Catholic faith

nina-phamFrom Women of Grace blog:

Nina Pham, the dedicated Dallas nurse who was infected with Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient to die in the U.S., is a devout Catholic whose faith very much informed her work as a nurse.

WFAA.com is reporting that Pham, 26, is currently in stable condition after receiving a blood transfusion from Dr. Kent Brantly, the American doctor who survived Ebola.

Blood from survivors is thought to contain antibodies and proteins that may help victims to fight off the disease.

Meanwhile, Pham’s family and friends attended a special Mass for her on Monday night at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Fort Worth.

“I think 90 percent of what she is doing at the hospital is directly involved with her faith,” said Tom Ha, a friend of the family.

Ha, who is vice president of the Vietnamese American Community in Tarrant County, and a Bible teacher at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church where Pham’s family worships, is asking the faithful to pray for Pham.

“Please pray for her and her family, because we believe in the power of prayer,” Ha said, adding that the Pham family practically lives at their parish.

In a statement released by the hospital on Tuesday, Pham wrote:

“I’m doing well and want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers. I am blessed by the support of family and friends and am blessed to be cared for by the best team of doctors and nurses in the world here at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.”

Read more at the Women of Grace blog.


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Huge crowd gathers for Rosary Rally in San Francisco

The crowd prays the Luminous Mysteries at United Nations Plaza

The crowd prays the Luminous Mysteries at United Nations Plaza

More than 1,000 people gathered at United Nations Plaza on Saturday for the 4th annual San Francisco Rosary Rally.

The event started with the Annual Hispanic Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, celebrated by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, followed by a Eucharistic procession from the cathedral to United Nations Plaza.

At the rally, the crowd prayed the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, and priests were available to hear confessions throughout the event. Fr. Joseph Illo, pastor of Star of the Sea Church and the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, served as Master of Ceremonies and EWTN host Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR gave the keynote speech.

Archbishop Cordileone said of the event:

“Pope Francis has repeatedly encouraged Catholics to participate in popular devotions. He himself has participated in several acts of popular devotion since becoming Pope. … Our Rosary Rally is a good example of what the Holy Father calls ‘the evangelizing power of popular piety.'”

Immaculate Heart Radio broadcast live from the Rally, interviewing event organizers and speakers.

A beautiful Saturday for a Rosary Rally!

A beautiful Saturday for a Rosary Rally!

Our broadcast team interviews Eva Muntean (left) and Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR (right)

Our broadcast team interviews Eva Muntean (left) and Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR (right)

Visit the Family Rosary Crusade web site for more information on the San Francisco Rosary Rally.

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