Bishop Galante to start dialysis treatments in Oct.

Camden Bishop Joseph Galante will have dialysis treatments six days a week, lasting up to three hours each, but expects to continue his regular duties.
Camden Bishop Joseph Galante will have dialysis treatments six days a week, lasting up to three hours each, but expects to continue his regular duties. (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 02, 2011

After suffering from chronic kidney disease for a year and experiencing fatigue in recent months, Bishop Joseph Galante of the Catholic Diocese of Camden will begin dialysis treatments six times weekly beginning this month.

In an online letter to members of the diocese, Galante said he had a series of medical procedures to prepare him for dialysis. The date of his first treatment has not been set, diocese spokesman Peter Feuerherd said.

Although the sessions will last up to three hours each, Galante expects to continue his regular duties.

"He hopes that with the dialysis, he will regain some strength," the spokesman said. "He's been worn down over the last few months."

The bishop's kidney disease is related to Type II diabetes, which he has had since 2000, Feuerherd said. His kidney disease is in the fourth of five stages. That would put his kidney function at 15 to 30 percent, according to George C. Francos, a nephrologist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Patients typically start dialysis or receive a kidney transplant in Stage Five, Francos said. Stage Four patients may start dialysis due to other conditions or problems, however.

There is no plan for Galante to get on a transplant list, Feuerherd said.

Galante will continue to supervise the financing, ministry, and education components of the diocese, and will make parish appearances, Feuerherd said.

"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," Galante said in his letter.

Galante became the seventh bishop of the diocese on April 30, 2004.

Before that, he was bishop of Beaumont, Texas, then coadjutor bishop of Dallas.

In his first year, Galante toured parishes in the diocese - which includes Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland, Salem, Gloucester and Camden Counties - and determined that streamlining was inevitable.

He mandated a consolidation that, when complete, will give the parish 70 dioceses, down from 124, church officials said.


Contact staff writer Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917, cvargas@phillynews.com, or @InqCVargas on Twitter.

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