Bishop John Steinbock Health Update

FRESNO, Calif.

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Doctors diagnosed the bishop with cancer in August. He was admitted to Saint Agnes Hospital ten days ago, after experiencing difficulty breathing.

The bishop is still in critical but stable condition. Diocese officials tell us doctors discovered several blood clots in his right lung and in his legs. But despite his serious condition, the bishop remains in good spirits. Even from his hospital bed he is reaching out to others who may be experiencing similar suffering.

Word of Bishop John Steinbock's hospitalization has spread quickly among the valley's catholic faithful, and beyond.

Deacon Jesse Avila said, "Pastors are always asking, the religious nuns are always asking, people in the super market are always asking -- how is bishop."

The bishop is in critical but stable condition in the intensive care unit at Saint Agnes Hospital. Doctors are treating him for blood clots discovered in his right lung and legs -- which have affected his energy and breathing.

Deacon Avila adds, "He does not know, his doctor does not know that he will make a full recovery."

At mass parishioners are being asked to keep the bishop in their prayers. Josephine Zarate has been doing that since earlier this year -- when she learned of the Bishops cancer diagnosis.

Steinbock has been undergoing treatment for stage three lung cancer since august.

"It's possible he might just get up from that bed and make a recovery," said Zarate. "We don't know, we just have to pray and hope for the best."

Parishioner, Abraham Ceja said, "He's somebody's religious leader; I'm sure we are always in his prayers, so now it's our turn to keep him in our prayers."

The bishop is reaching out to the valley's faithful through the internet. He recently posted an essay on the diocese website, called the Affliction of Cancer -- where he writes: "We often cannot understand the "why" but with faith we can understand god loving us in the midst of any suffering that comes into our lives."

Deacon Jessie Avila says the bishop is in good spirits -- but prepared for any outcome. "He just sees that gods will is going to be done either way so he has just surrendered to god's will."

We are told there will be no immediate changes at the diocese -- Bishop Steinbock is still able to make decisions on important matters. Any other administrative decisions are being made by the vicar general, who is the diocese's second in command.

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