Portsmouth’s Catholic Bishop faces cancer battle

BATTLE Bishop Crispian Hollis is fighting cancer
BATTLE Bishop Crispian Hollis is fighting cancer
The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Right Rev Christopher Foster

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WELL-WISHERS are sending their thoughts to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth who has been diagnosed with cancer.

The Rt Rev Crispian Hollis sent a letter to the clergy of the Diocese of Portsmouth to tell them of his recent diagnosis.

In it he says he has been experiencing poor health for some time and a scan last month revealed he has bowel cancer.

He is awaiting more tests but expects to have major surgery in September.

Many close to him have joined in wishing the 74-year-old well.

Father Simon Thomson, of St Swithun Roman Catholic Church in Southsea, said: ‘He took the trouble of writing to all of us, which we were very touched by. I was deeply upset to hear the news and hope he recovers soon.

‘He’s such a kind man and has served the diocese very well. I also have a special bond with him because he ordained me in 1994, so he is my spiritual father.’

Leader of Portsmouth City Council Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, a friend of the Bishop’s, said: ‘I’ve written to him to wish him better.

‘He has been an exceptionally good bishop for the city and he’s a very kind, caring, and intelligent person.

‘I’m sure everyone will be wishing him well.’

In his letter to the clergy, Bishop Crispian, who has been the Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth for 22 years, said: ‘I would be very grateful for your support and prayers, together with the prayers of all in the diocese.’

This Sunday, Catholic priests will lead congregations across the city in praying for the Bishop’s return to better health.