Bishop Shaw’s tumor is cancerous

Bishop M. Thomas Shaw
Bishop M. Thomas Shaw

Bishop M. Thomas Shaw has learned that a tumor removed from his brain last week is malignant and he will need cancer treatments, according to the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

Shaw underwent brain surgery on May 17 after tests revealed the mass on the previous day, the diocese said in a post on its website Friday. The bishop met with his doctors at the Dana Farber Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center on Friday, where they discussed the diagnosis, the diocese said.

In the next few weeks, Shaw, 67, is expected to begin radiation and chemotherapy treatments.


The Rev. Mally Lloyd, who spent time with Shaw before his operation last week and continued to speak for him, wrote an e-mail to the diocese about the cancer diagnosis.

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“This is hard news for all of us to hear,” Lloyd wrote in the e-mail, which was posted on the diocese website. “[Shaw] has great confidence in his doctors, and he has great confidence in his life of prayer.”

After his surgery, the bishop went home to the monastery of the Society of St. John Evangelist in Cambridge on Sunday, “where he has been recuperating and resting well,” said the diocese.

Lloyd wrote that Shaw intends to return to work in the upcoming week. Shaw announced his retirement in January, and he will have served two decades as bishop by the end of his tenure in 2014.

The bishop has become known for his advocacy regarding social justice, gay rights, and ending gun violence, among other issues.


“He asked me to once again express his appreciation for your continuing prayers and to convey how much he has enjoyed reading the many cards and letters that arrive daily at his home,” wrote Lloyd. “This result is not what I have been praying for, but Bishop Tom assures me that continued prayer is what he wants most.”

Derek J. Anderson can be reached at