SINGAPORE – Father Renckens, 79, who served in Blessed Sacrament Church from 1970 to 2004, has been diagnosed with metastatic malignant melanoma (skin cancer) – right leg lymph node metastasis.
Father Renckens has had two surgeries done and is currently undergoing treatment for massive infected post surgical lymphoedema (swelling due to lymph fluid blockage and accumulation) in his right leg at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
According to a letter posted on the church’s website by Dr Colleen Thomas, Senior Consultant Physician, Department of Internal Medicine, SGH, the prognosis puts Father Renckens at about six to nine months survival. Dr Thomas is one of the doctors managing Father Renckens for lymphoedema.
However parish priest Father Anthony Hutjes said that “in this kind of disease, any precise prediction is hard to give”.
Dr Thomas’ letter mentions that Father Renckens requests for prayers that “I may have the courage to carry this cross and that my leg will get better” and goes on to urge parishioners to “render Father Renckens our urgent intercession in prayer”.
“It’s the least we can do, yet the most powerful and appropriate thing. In my medical career, I have witnessed many miracles rendered through faithful prayer of both Catholics and Protestants,” Dr Thomas writes in the letter.
As of one month ago, Father Renckens has been unable to walk, and has been suffering from a poor appetite, experiencing difficulty sleeping, and suffering from pain due to swelling in the right leg.
Meanwhile, Father Renckens has expressed his wish not to have visitors until further notice. He is expected to be transferred to St. Theresa’s Home in the week of Jul 19.
Updates of Father Renckens’ condition are available on the church’s website and forum at www.bsc.org.sg/renckens/. David Woon, a parishioner, has started a forum thread to update parishioners on Father Renckens’ condition.
Mr Woon, who has worked with Father Renckens for more than 16 years through the church’s newsletter and Parish Pastoral Council (PPC), described Father Renckens as a systematic and firm, yet open-minded person.
“Through his engaging philosophy courses, I see a man who’s a deep thinker and through his witty yet down-to-earth sermons, I see a man passionately in love with his God. He’s indeed a tremendous source of inspiration for me,” Mr Woon said.
Noel D’cruz, current chairman of the Blessed Sacrament Church PPC, praised Father Renckens as a “great priest to work with”.
“There is so much passion in his work for the Lord, so demanding, so precise, no messing around with him, and (he) gives you good results at the end of the day. I would love to work with him anytime,” Mr D’cruz said.
Blessed Sacrament Church parishioners feel the pain of their former parish priest and are responding to the call to pray for him. The parish will hold a prayer service for him after the 6.00pm Mass on Wednesday Jul 29.
By Darren Boon
Latest News: Fr Albert Renckens, age 79, passed away peacefully this morning, 31st
July at 1.40 am at SGH.