SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Father Larry Gosselin is flashing his warm smile and sending Santa Barbara residents an update on his condition in Italy after triple bypass heart surgery.
In a message to the community he said, "I want you to know most gratefully how I hold you all in my heart (newly repaired)."
His surgery took place in Rome at Genelli Hospital. At the time, Gosselin was walking the Camino of Saint Francis from La Verna to Assisi.
He says problems were discovered on the last day of the 10-day pilgrimage when they entered the City of Saint Francis and walking to Saint Francis’s Tomb In Assisi.
Gosselin says he was told by doctors he was close to death had he continued.
Genelli Hospital has served Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa. It is a Catholic Franciscan Hospital.
"I am recovering and regaining my strength. It has been an horrendous ordeal," Gosselin writes. "God is SO good and has brought me through this life changing experience. My recovery and rehabilitation program will take another 3 weeks. Although the doctors told me that I may not be able to fly back to Santa Barbara for maybe 2 to 3 months. We will make this determination as time proceeds."
All healthcare in Italy is free.
Father Larry is a highly visible figure representing the Old Mission. He is seen at civic and community functions year-round. He is a co-host of Fiesta Pequena on the Mission steps during Old Spanish Days and is not bashful about dancing during fundraising events he attends.
He is scheduled to receive an honor from Catholic Charities in December at the annual fundraising dinner.