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Chicago (ELCA)-JB — The Rev. Margarita Martinez, bishop of the Caribbean Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), said she has cancer. Martinez traveled here late last month for medical tests after she was advised by her physician in Puerto Rico to seek additional treatment.
"The results of my recent biopsy were positive for cancer," she said in a Sept. 1 e-mail message to the synod and to the ELCA. "My physicians have recommended chemotherapy. I am currently exploring options for treatment in Puerto Rico."
Martinez, Carolina, Puerto Rico, is being treated at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. Her son accompanied her to the United States.
"I am very grateful for the many prayers and expressions of concern that have been shown to me and my family. However, I request that these be limited to cards sent to my home, rather than through phone calls or emails," she wrote.
When she left Puerto Rico, Martinez appointed the Rev. Francisco L. Sosa as acting bishop of the synod through Sept. 23, with the consent of the Caribbean Synod Council. Sosa, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, preceded Martinez as bishop of the synod. He now serves as president of the Association of Hispanic Ministries of the ELCA.
In her message, Martinez said she is "grateful for Pastor Francisco Sosa's willingness to serve as acting bishop ... which allows me to focus on my treatment and healing."
The ELCA Caribbean Synod has 6,558 baptized members in 34 congregations located in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The synod office is in Dorado, Puerto Rico.