CAMDEN, N.J. (CNS) — Bishop Joseph A. Galante of Camden told Catholics of his diocese that he would soon begin dialysis treatment to combat worsening kidney disease.

He said that despite the near-daily treatments, “this should enable me to be able to continue an active work schedule both in the office and for the celebration of liturgies in our parishes.”

Bishop Galante, 73, said in a Sept. 29 letter to Catholics of the diocese that he had first received treatment 11 years ago for Type 2 diabetes. “For a little more than a year, I have been suffering from chronic kidney disease, which is now at Stage IV,” he added.

“Over the past two months, I have had a series of medical procedures to prepare for dialysis. One of these procedures had complications which necessitated a hospital stay due to an infection which is now being treated by intravenous antibiotics.”

Bishop Galante said his dialysis treatments would, at the beginning, take place at his home six days a week for up to three hours a day.

“This illness, with its inconveniences and diminished strength and energy, has provided me with a graced opportunity for deeper prayer and reflection. I have come more and more to appreciate and cherish the relationship I have with you,” Bishop Galante said. “I daily offer to our heavenly Father my illness with all that goes with it for you, that you may have a deeper faith and trust in Jesus and more fervent practice of that faith,” he added.

“This illness has, in God’s providence, brought me ever close to you whom I serve and has given me a greater appreciation of what it means to be a bishop,” Bishop Galante said. “I am discovering that shepherding is more than the public expression but can be a joyful and willing acceptance of God’s presence, even in our weakness and limitations.”

Bishop Galante has been bishop of Camden since 2004. A Philadelphia native who was ordained in 1964 as a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of San Antonio in 1992, after working five years at the Vatican as undersecretary for the congregation which oversees religious life. In 1994, he was named bishop of Beaumont, Texas. When he was appointed to Camden, he had been coadjutor bishop of Dallas since 1999.