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Priest receives donor kidney after putting request in church bulletin

Father Tim O'Sullivan

6abc Philadelphia | Fair Use via YouTube

Sarah Robsdottir - published on 03/14/24

"I'm blessed and humbled beyond belief," said Fr. O' Sullivan of the remarkable act of generosity one family made in the midst of their mourning.

Many priests joke about parishioners ignoring their church bulletins, but that’s not the case for Fr. Tim O’Sullivan of St. Ephrem’s Church in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. After over 20 years of service at his Philadelphia-area parish, he faced many health struggles that resulted in his needing a donor kidney last fall. So he put the request in his church’s bulletin. And he was immediately met with a positive response

“Several parishioners came forward to volunteer their own kidneys,” he explained to Aleteia over the phone. “I was so blown away — truly and deeply blessed — but none of them were a match.”  

Fr. O’Sullivan also had family members try to help him out, but none of them were eligible candidates either.

Then, Christine Moretti, a parishioner at St. Ephrem’s, unexpectedly lost her older brother Albert Stanley of South Philadelphia on New Year’s Day.

Father Tim O'Sullivan

She had checked his driver’s license to see if he had listed himself as an organ donor, discovering he had. 

“It did not surprise me that he was an organ donor at all,” Moretti told ABC Channel 6 News as she tearfully spoke about her brother who “had a laugh that could light up a room.”

Stanley had sadly passed away from a series of strokes that resulted in a terminal brain bleed.

Surgery success

Moretti contacted Fr. O’ Sullivan, and the grateful priest received both Stanley’s kidneys a few days later.

The transplant surgery was a success, and Fr. O’ Sullivan is no longer on dialysis. Stanley’s lungs and corneas were also donated to other patients.   

“It’s humbling that they made such a generous decision,” Fr. O’ Sullivan told Aleteia. “Even in the midst of their grief, they thought of me. I’m truly blown away.” 

Stanley’s family said they were given great comfort during their time of unexpected loss and deep sorrow by knowing that their loved one’s organs were giving Fr. O’ Sullivan and several others a new chance at life

“It was already a comfort knowing that [Stanley] would live on through others,” Christine Moretti explained to ABC Channel 6 News. “But to know that it’s someone so close — part of our parish, that my kids interact with — this was very meaningful to me.” 

Albert Stanley’s mother Rosemarie Frankel recently had the chance to share a tearful embrace with Fr. O’ Sullivan at St. Ephrem’s church rectory.

Frankel expressed that she and the rest of her family hope others will consider organ donation. They are spreading the word about the Sharing Network Foundation, the organization that supported them during their ordeal. 

Meanwhile, Fr. O’Sullivan recently checked in with his friends at Aleteia to report that his doctors are pleased with his recovery and that he hopes to return to St. Ephrem’s to say Mass in April. 

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