Prayers at feast day Mass center on archbishop’s healing

Father Martin Linebach, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Louisville and pastor of St. James Church in Elizabethtown, Ky., celebrated the feast of the Assumption at the Cathedral of the Assumption on Aug. 15. Prayer at the Mass centered on healing for Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz who is undergoing treatment for cancer. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)

More than 200 people gathered at the Cathedral of the Assumption today — the feast of the Cathedral’s patron — to ask for the Blessed Mother’s intercession on behalf of the archbishop.

“Let’s be beggars at the door of the Lord,” Father Martin Linebach urged the congregation as he asked, through Mary’s intercession:

“Protect our good archbishop, that he returns to us healthy and full of hope.”

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz announced July 11 that he had been diagnosed with bladder and prostate cancer. He has gone to North Carolina for treatment.

The archbishop’s chair in the sanctuary of the Cathedral was conspicuously empty during the noon feast day Mass. In the archbishop’s absence, Father Linebach, the vicar general, has been filling in as needed.

He was joined at the liturgy by more than two dozen priests of the Archdiocese of Louisville, employees of archdiocesan agencies and parishes and other members of the faithful.

Father Linebach noted in his homily that the archbishop’s episcopal motto is “Hope in the Lord.”

“When the Lord truly wants us to grow, he sends suffering our way,” he said. “The Blessed Virgin knew this in her own life as does the archbishop.”

At the end of such sanctification, he said, comes joy.

“Hope never disappoints. The archbishop has and always will summon us to ‘hope in the Lord,’ ” he said.

Archbishop Kurtz said he is grateful for those who attended the Mass, particularly the priests who attended, Father Linebach told the congregation.

The feast of the Assumption is an important day in the Archdiocese of Louisville. In addition to its connection with the archdiocese’s mother church, the Cathedral of the Assumption, the day also holds two anniversaries.

This year, Aug. 15 marks the 12th anniversary of Archbishop Kurtz’ installation as Archbishop of Louisville. And it marks the 42nd anniversary of the late Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly’s episcopal ordination.

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