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Former Episcopal bishop said to be nearing end of life

M. Thomas Shaw, who formerly led the state’s Episcopal Diocese, was diagnosed with cancer last year.Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, former leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, is nearing the “end of his earthly pilgrimage,” his successor, Bishop Alan M. Gates, said in a message posted Thursday on the diocese’s website.

“I invite you to join me in lifting prayers for Bishop Tom Shaw,” the message said.

The posting said that Shaw’s “illness has progressed and his physical energy has continued to diminish.”

In January 2013, Shaw announced that he would be retiring. Several months later he was diagnosed with cancer.

Shaw had said goodbye in mid-September to about 3,000 of the faithful at the consecration of Gates as his successor.


“Bishop Tom’s presence with us at the consecration on September 13, and the opportunity it provided for an outpouring of affection and gratitude, was a great gift, to Tom, to me, and to all of us,” Gates said in his statement Thursday. “His delight at being there was manifest, as was the immeasurable esteem in which he is held.”

Gates told the faithful: “Today, on your behalf, I brought prayers and love from the people of the diocese to Tom’s bedside. We exchanged a blessing, the grace of which I received also on your behalf.”

The staff at the Episcopal headquarters at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Tremont Street in Boston has “created a devotional corner in which we will be offering our steady prayers of thanksgiving and intercession for Bishop Tom,” Gates said. “I invite you, in your own homes and churches, to find similar ways to uphold Tom in prayer in these next days.”

Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane @globe.com.