Being a Priest-Victim for Souls

News: US News
by Church Militant  •  •  September 14, 2023   

Fr. Jeffrey Montz gives an update on his brain tumor

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On June 1, Church Militant published an article titled "Priest With Brain Tumor Requests Prayers From Abp. Fulton Sheen," about New Orleans priest Fr. Jeffrey Montz. Recently diagnosed with a brain tumor, he was asking that people pray for his healing through the intercession of Abp. Sheen in the hope that a miracle would be granted to advance his stalled cause for canonization.

Church Militant reached out to Fr. Montz for an update on his condition, and he provided the following.

I had an appointment [Aug. 18] with the doctor who will be directing my chemotherapy. She is very kind and did an excellent job of explaining the next steps of my treatment. I began radiation and chemo near the beginning of September. I'm taking a chemo pill daily at varying dosages and that will continue for a year. The effects will be most severe in the early stages, with exhaustion being the most common side effect.

I'm also beginning radiation, five days a week for six weeks. ... Since the surgery, I've had issues with my vision alignment. My left and right eye are not in sync. I've also lost a great deal of my peripheral vision in my right eye. I knew going into the surgery to remove the tumor that this was one of the most likely negative side effects. 

It seems clear to me that God wants me to be His priest-victim for souls in His way and timing. 

I have thought a lot about Archbishop Sheen in the midst of these experiences. When I was studying in Rome for my license I wrote my tessina on Sheen's perspective of the priest as both priest and victim. I truly believe that in God's providence He is using this time and these experiences to teach me the truth of this theology in an even deeper way.

He is blessing me with an opportunity to live this truth more authentically. I thank God daily for this experience of the cross, which has been forming me into the priest-victim I have been called to become. The doctors seem optimistic that I will be able to live for at least another 10–15 years post-chemo without a return of the tumor, and as new treatments are developed my life could be even longer. So as ready as I felt after my initial diagnosis to be with the Lord for all eternity, it seems clear to me that God wants me to be His priest-victim for souls in His way and timing. 

Forward Boldly: Why Are They Blocking Sheen's Cause for Sainthood?

I want to share my gratitude to my parents as I go through all of this. My vocation was fostered in their prayers and example. Over the next months of treatment they will be my primary caregivers. I am so blessed to have their love and support!

While I am eager to return to ministry in seminary formation, I am grateful that God in His providence is giving me this time to heal in Nazareth. God has been so good to me through my family. In fact, I'll have the grace to baptize my newest nephew, Gabriel Fulton. Thankfully, I've grown proficient enough at using one eye to read the sacred texts to be able to offer the Sacred Mass and, in this case, Holy Baptism. 

Thank you again for your concern and prayers and please be assured of mine. May Archbishop Fulton Sheen pray for us. 

God's Peace,
Fr. Jeffrey Montz


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