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Bishop being treated in NY

Catholic leader faces third fight with leukemia

YOUNGSTOWN — Bishop George Murry of the Diocese of Youngstown was admitted Saturday to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York for inpatient treatment.

Just last week, Murry, 71, who has led the diocese since 2007, submitted his requested resignation to Pope Francis because of health reasons.

The Diocese of Youngstown covers Stark, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage and Trumbull counties.

Monsignor John Zuraw, diocesan chancellor, said Monday that Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center provides innovative care for people with all types of cancer — from the most common to the most rare.

This is Murry’s third diagnosis of leukemia.

Zuraw said Murry extends his deepest thanks to all for their words of encouragement and well wishes.

“Although he cannot answer each card, letter, text or email, he appreciates your thoughtfulness and extends his prayers and good wishes,” Zuraw said.

Murry, after being diagnosed with acute leukemia in April 2018, underwent inpatient treatment at the Cleveland Clinic. When he was released in May 2018 doctors said his leukemia was in remission, but Murry needed regular follow-up visits. In September of that year, Murry said he was cancer-free.

In July 2019, Murry re-entered the Cleveland Clinic for a reoccurrence of leukemia. At that time, tests confirmed that he was in remission and that doctors were not recommending a bone marrow transplant. Murry was able to return to work in January 2020.

This April, Murry said his cancer had returned, and he was receiving outpatient treatment locally at that time. Zuraw has said Murry’s third bout of leukemia leaves him less able to fulfill the tasks entrusted to him. After prayerful consideration, Murry felt it was in the best interest of the diocese that he step down and have someone else continue all that he has started — with the energy needed to get the work done.

The letter sent to Pope Francis and may take three to four weeks for approval and a response. Zuraw said the coronavirus pandemic may slow down the process for a Vatican response because not everyone is working.

Murry will remain the bishop until the pope officially accepts the resignation request. The pope, upon approving the request, may either appoint an apostolic administrator or a diocesan administrator to oversee day-to-day operations of the diocese and work with staff. That person would serve in that capacity until a new bishop is appointed.

The whole process takes a year to a year-and-a-half before another bishop is named, Zuraw said.

Murry is the fifth bishop who has overseen the Diocese of Youngstown.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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