For some of you this will be the first you know that an update on Fr John is needed. But he is at present in hospital, taken in by ambulance on Thursday.
Those watching his daily YouTube streamed mass will have witnessed he has been struggling to get around for a little while now and there has been several messages assuming this is because his ‘other’ hip is failing and needs attention – and this was his first impression when the mobility problem started around four/five weeks ago.
Three weeks ago, as normal activities were becoming increasingly more difficult, he contacted his doctor who began investigations. In these past weeks, he has had ECGs, X-rays, CT and MRI scans, along with various other tests, but, so far, no diagnosis. What we do know is that it is not his hip and it is not Covd-19, but there is obviously something causing his symptoms and making him so unwell.
His doctor had been reluctant to send him to hospital because of the Coronavirus epidemic and was managing his investigations as an outpatient, but on Wednesday evening it became obvious that he needed to be in hospital.
He is now staying in hospital where his condition is being managed and the investigations are continuing. He is comfortable, knows he is in the right place and he is at peace, trusting the medical team looking after him – some of whom have recognised him from his many years and various roles in the Leicester Churches community, especially as the hospital chaplain during his time here in Leicester.
On Thursday morning the YouTube broadcast was started as usual so that Fr John could tell people himself why he could not be celebrating mass for them. He wanted to reassure everyone personally and let them know that this daily mass has been the highlight of his day during the last few months of lockdown, and that, as soon as he is well enough, streaming will continue – but we know he will be sensible and listen to advice before resuming. He is aware from the many appreciative emails, letters, messages and parish donations that he has been receiving over these months, that many are joining his daily mass, and it has become a focal point for many during lockdown, with several joining us from around the country and even various other countries.
As the news has spread, the parish phone, emails and messages have been constant, with so many concerned, worried and offering prayers, and it has been impossible to successfully answer all who have phoned – even those ringing and messaging my personal mobile! I apologise if you have been left wondering and seemingly ignored. I do not think it wise to be putting regular personal health updates for Fr John on an open internet page and know that, based on the last 48 hours, I cannot at keep up with answering the number of additional enquiries to the parish house once this newsletter is released. So, I have set up two options for you to enquire as to his progress.
(1) BY TELEPHONE 07894 01 93 28 We have a parish mobile which is being monitored and answered by Sam (Samantha), a member of our SVP (St Vincent de Paul Society) who has the necessary safeguarding clearance to answer enquires. You can ring her, or send messages to be passed on to Fr John, and she will gladly update you.
(2) BY EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org I have set up this temporary email address from which I shall send an update each day to those who request to join the mailing list. To receive the updates send an email to “email@example.com”, or “contact us” on the parish website, asking to “join the email service and agreeing that St Joseph’s Parish Office can hold your contact email on parish file for the purpose of updating you on Fr John’s progress, and acknowledge that you understand your details will be deleted from file once this temporary email account is suspended”. Apologies if this wording sounds extreme but, unfortunately, because of GDPR regulations we are not allowed to hold your contact details or email/ring you without your permission.
I am in contact with Fr John, the hospital and his family in Wales and, as I am given information to share, it will be shared. The message today from Fr John is that he is at peace, beginning to see a little improvement and would like me to thank you for all your prayers and messages of support and he looks forward to being with you all again, and especially sharing his streamed daily celebration of mass.
There is much happening in the parish over the next couple of weeks, details of which are given over the page along with details of available streamed masses you may like to join whilst Fr John is unable to say mass. It is also worth noting that there are many recordings on our parish YouTube channel that you may like to revisit.
Thank you to all those who have offered me support and are helping at this time in so many ways. It is wonderful to know that you are there – and be assured, I will ask when there is need!
God bless Fr John with renewed health and God bless our extended parish community and friends.
(12th July 2020)