Climb every mountain: a priest’s journey up Kilimanjaro

Last week, I posted an item about a priest from Des Moines climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.  CNS caught up with him this week, and has more:

A pastor from the Des Moines Diocese has experienced a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with the hope that it will bring others to God.

Msgr. Frank Bognanno, 72 and pastor of Christ the King Parish in Des Moines since 2000, is among a group of cancer survivors who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, a trip organized by Des Moines oncologist Dr. Richard Deming and led by world triathlete Charlie Wittmack, of St. Augustin Parish in Des Moines.

The group of 17 cancer survivors and 20 caregivers reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro late in the afternoon of Jan. 10, thus becoming participants in the world’s highest “relay for life” at 19,340 feet.

A priest for nearly 47 years, Msgr. Bognanno had completed triathlons in the past and continued to run and walk regularly.

But in the six weeks before he began the climb, his fitness regimen changed to prepare him to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Deming, who is the director of the Cancer Center at Mercy Medical Center, led a group to Mount Everest last April, and has said that climbing a mountain is a metaphor that many cancer survivors use to describe their cancer experience.

It has been 17 years since Msgr. Bognanno’s initial diagnosis of prostate cancer, from which he experienced full recovery. Three years ago the cancer reappeared, but at a level so low that the approach had been to simply continue monitoring things.

He’d been seeing Deming for treatment, who at one point asked Msgr. Bognanno to join the cancer survivor expedition.

“I was a little hesitant at first,” the priest said. “I mean, my idea of camping is a Motel 6 with black and white television.”

Read the rest.

Comments

  1. Deacon Greg,
    Monsignor is my pastor–I have known and worked with him for about 12 years. But you beat me to the story again! Sigh. Anyway Monsignor is a holy and dynamic priest. I am just thankful, that he came home in one piece.
    Thanks for finding this.
    God Bless,
    Susan

  2. What an amazing story. From couch potatoe to possible summiteer, Kilimanjaro often starts out as a dare, a why not, a must do. It is a humbling, gratifying and utterly magical experience. An experience quite unlike any other… an experience highlighted by courage and tenacity, determination and focus… and this results in a fantastic story.

    Storyline Studio focuses on all these stories – the heart and soul of many books, all the how’s, what, and when’s. The challenges and successes and the journey through these. Our clients have had the most amazing journeys and their stories are encapsulated into the chapters of professional, well designed, cost effective coffee table books…that they eagerly share and pass around.

    Storyline Studio is a fun, creative and passionate design studio, focussed primarily on telling exciting, memorable, giving and adventurous stories…and let’s face it everyone has a story! Our stories are not only for individuals but families, friends and corporate groups.

    They experience a trip of a lifetime and arrive home on a high with loads of photos and hearts full of memories – and it’s those hearts full of memories that we capture in the pages of a book. Their hopes, fears, joys… and on Kili anything can and will happen and much is unforeseen and cannot be planned for. Kili is about guts, grit and detemination. Silent prayers and heartfelt conversations. Its about bonding with old friends and forging new friendships. Its about sacrifice and courage. All one step at a time ‘pole-pole’.

    You experience a trip of a lifetime and arrive home on a high with loads of photos and hearts full of memories – and it’s those hearts full of memories that we capture in the pages of a book. Your hopes, fears, joys… and on Kili anything can and will happen and much is unforeseen and cannot be planned for.

    You can improve your professional integrity by writing a book which could open many doors for you. It’s a rather ‘simple’ but committed process to write the book and we facilitate it all the way to ensure that you have peace of mind and enjoy the process of becoming your own author. Visit my website http://www.storylinestudio.co.za for more information and you are more than welcome to log onto my Facebook page Storyline Studio where you will see some images of the books that I have done.

    For us photos capture a moment in time but stories capture a lifetime of moments. I would love to share this opportunity with you. I do hope that you will get in touch with me so that we can discuss this further.
    All the very best and I hope you enjoy many more successful adventures and journeys of the heart.

    Charmane

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Iowa priest nominated to medical boardMay 2, 2012 By Deacon Greg Kandra 2 CommentsYou may remember the story about Msgr. Frank Bognanno, who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro recently.  He’s also a cancer survivor.Now he’s in the [...]

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