Catholic priest finds kidney donor through parishioner — By: Catholic News Agency

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CNA Staff, Mar 2, 2024 / 08:00 am (CNA).

Father Tim O’Sullivan is a parochial vicar at St. Ephrem Catholic Church in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. He first arrived to the parish in 2001 and says he considers it home.

In 2017, the priest began to have several health issues that led to him undergoing 11 different surgeries in a matter of 15 months. 

“The doctors say all the anesthesia that was in my system eventually took its toll on my kidneys,” O’Sullivan told Trish Hartman of Channel 6 Action News.

This led O’Sullivan to being on dialysis for five years. 

In November 2023, he decided to write a letter in the parish bulletin letting parishioners know that he was in search of a kidney donor. Despite having several people reach out, none were a match.

“A couple people in the parish did call but were not qualified for some reason or another,” he said.

It wasn’t until January that O’Sullivan received the good news — he had a donor.

Albert Stanley, 46, of South Philadelphia, died on New Year’s Day after suffering several strokes and a brain bleed. His sister, Christine Moretti, is a parishioner at St. Ephrem’s. After seeing on her brother’s driver’s license that he was an organ donor, she contacted O’Sullivan. 

“He had multiple people in his family that were not matches, so in speaking with him, of course, this would be the miracle that we need,” Moretti told Channel 6 Action News.

On Jan. 3, O’Sullivan received the call that Stanley was a match.

He received both of Stanley’s kidneys and is no longer on dialysis. O’Sullivan is still recovering but hopes to be offering Mass again at St. Ephrem’s in April. 

Stanley’s mother and sister said that knowing his organs saved someone else’s life has given them comfort in their grief.

“It was already a comfort knowing that he would live on through others. But to know that it’s someone so close — part of our parish, that my kids interact with — was very meaningful to me,” Moretti said.

O’Sullivan shared that the family’s decision was “humbling” and was a “very generous decision, even in the midst of a mother’s worst grief.”

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