Mass, concert send messages of hope to cancer victims

The powers of music, medicine, generosity and faith combined Saturday in Peoria to renew a “Spirit of Hope” among cancer patients and their families.

Noted Irish tenor John McDermott was the featured vocalist during prelude music and an afternoon Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria and then later at a fundraising concert at the Peoria Civic Center. Proceeds from the evening, which included a reception with McDermott at the residence of Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, benefited the radiation oncology program at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

In welcoming the assembly — which included several members of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis as well as physicians, medical staff, cancer victims, and their families — to the cathedral, Bishop Jenky called Jesus “the physician of our bodies and healer of our souls.” The theme of the Mass was “A Time to Remember, a Time to Hope.”

Bishop Jenky said every Mass is a moment of remembrance “of all God has done for us through Jesus Christ” and hope “that we might know all of God’s promises.”

People who face serious illness, he said in his homily, model for us all a “readiness for God’s help” and how to live “never taking life for granted.” He added that “God’s goodness is extraordinary and his mercy is truly without end.”

At the close of Mass, Bishop Jenky led applause for all musicians and “the incomparable John McDermott.” Dr. McGee called McDermott “the most comforting singer I know” and said he will share CD copies of the new song with patients and loved ones to “help them face the suddenly uncertain future.”

Editor’s Note — Copies of the “Let’s Live Today” CD are available through the OSF Foundation, (309) 566-5666. Cost is $10.

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