Msgr. Ketcham returns to Bloomington; will attend parish prayer service

Msgr. Greg Ketcham is pictured with his sister, Clarisse Slater, in Houston, Texas, where the pastor of St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington and St. Mary, Downs, has been receiving treatment for brain cancer. Their t-shirts bear the slogan Msgr. Ketcham has emphasized throughout his treatment, that "Jesus reigns." (Photo from stpatrickmerna.org)

BLOOMINGTON — Saying “I feel strong and am excited to be with you soon,” Msgr. Gregory Ketcham is returning to his parishes today during a break in his treatment for brain cancer.

Msgr. Ketcham, pastor of St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington and St. Mary in Downs, has been at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston since mid-July receiving radiation and chemotherapy.

While Msgr. Ketcham has been away, St. Patrick Church of Merna has hosted weekly vigils on Tuesday evenings to pray for the restoration of his health. Parish officials said Msgr. Ketcham plans to be present for tonight’s service at 6:30 p.m.

Throughout his treatment, Msgr. Ketcham has kept parishioners and all concerned informed through regular updates on the St. Patrick Parish website, stpatrickmerna.org.

In the most recent update, posted Sept. 22, Msgr. Ketcham wrote that he will fly home to Bloomington today, Sept. 27. Representatives from the parish were going to meet him at the airport.

“It’s now time for me to regain my normal routine of parish ministry,” said Msgr. Ketcham, who expressed gratitude to Father Dustin Schultz, who has served as temporary administrator of the parish in his absence. He also thanked Father Michael Pica, parochial vicar, the parish staffs, and all who have prayed for him or donated toward his ongoing treatment.

“Please be aware of my need to ease into my normal routine,” he cautioned. “This will take a little time, but I am so excited to be coming home and be with all of you.”

Msgr. Ketcham will require MRI testing every two months to check success of the treatments.

Acknowledging he has lost much weight in the last two months, Msgr. Ketcham added that “my doctor is amazed by my commitment to exercise and healthy eating.”

He closes his updates with a phrase of trust in Christ, which parishioners have put on t-shirts: “Jesus reigns.”

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