Bishop William K. Weigand stood before the man who is risking everything to give him a second chance at life.
The frail bishop picked up a white wash cloth and gently wiped Dan Haverty’s feet. When he was done, he kissed them.
Washing the feet of the faithful commemorates Jesus’ act on the night of the Last Supper. This year, the annual rite had a special meaning.
Friday, Haverty will check into the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco, where doctors will remove two-thirds of his healthy liver to donate it to the bishop, a man he barely knows but wants to serve.
The leader of the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento suffers from primary sclerosing cholangitis, a disease that causes scarring near the liver.
In recent months, the bishop’s health has deteriorated and he has been hospitalized several times. Doctors have told the bishop he must have the transplant within three months. Finding a donor – someone willing to endure a long, risky surgery – could have been an arduous search.
But Haverty, a devout Catholic and assistant chief for the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, answered the call for help.
"I can’t explain it," said Haverty, 50. "It’s something I feel God is calling me to do."
Haverty’s sacrifice has deeply moved the bishop.
"Here is a man who has nothing to gain and so much to lose and he’s stepped forward," said Weigand, who has served as bishop of the Sacramento diocese for 11 years. "I am greatly touched by this unselfish act that is giving me a second chance." [Source]