Dear Brothers, Sisters and Friends in the Passionist Family,
I greet you with the wish and blessing of the Risen Jesus in this time of Easter: “Peace be with you!”
It is now just over 3 weeks since my sudden and unplanned heart by-pass surgery and in this period of recuperation, I am happy to inform you that, in general, I am improving and feeling stronger by the day – even if there emerged some minor complications for which I am still receiving treatment and therapy.
Without waiting too much longer, however, I wanted to write this short letter to you to express my immense gratitude for your fraternal support in assurance of your prayers and good wishes for my speedy recovery which you expressed to me through your emails, cards, letters and visits. I was overwhelmed by this thoughtfulness and support which, for me, was deeply felt as a source of great strength, encouragement and comfort.
I apologise that I am unable to reply personally to each of you. I hope you will understand my situation at present and accept this general letter in a personal way.
THANK YOU sincerely for your fraternal and prayer support for me, both personal and communal. I am deeply indebted to you and greatly appreciate your kindness. In my discomfort, while just lying in my hospital bed and losing sight of the hours and days passing by, I felt not only strengthened by your concern and support, but I was also able to hold you up to God’s embrace in gratitude for your thoughts and prayers for me.
I would like to thank in particular certain members of my community and the lay Passionist Family here in Rome who have been so generous in giving of their time and attention to make and manage my medical appointments, drive me to the hospital, assist me in translation, and kindly care for all my needs while in the hospital and after. They know who they are. I feel truly humbled to be given such attention, but have appreciated very much their generous assistance and unselfish care. They have been a living example of our vision in aspiring to be a “Passionist Family”.
Finally, I was inspired by all the doctors, nurses, aids and staff of the Umberto I Polyclinic in Rome where I have been receiving treatment and underwent the surgery. Their professionalism, attention, friendly care and service could not be faulted – both during the stay in hospital and in the after-care period. For someone like me who was out of his familiar environment and comfort-zone, and not being able to communicate in the local language, any fears quickly dissipated because of the friendliness and generous service of all the staff. I thank them sincerely.
Please accept these humble expressions of my gratitude and thanks to you all. I continue to rely on your support and prayers for me, particularly in these weeks of recuperation. Be assured that your kindness and thoughtfulness has brought you closer to my renewed heart, and in my prayer your needs and intentions are remembered and placed in the Heart of God.
“May the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in our hearts.”
Fraternally in JXP,
Fr Joachim Rego CP