Recently retired Anchorage Archbishop Emeritus Roger Schwietz was released from the hospital on April 30 after suffering from a minor heart attack on April 28.
“My health has been stabilized and there was no permanent damage to the heart,” he told the Catholic Anchor on May 1. “I will need to have surgery in the future to replace an aortic valve that is going bad.”
The morning of his heart attack, Archbishop Schwietz experienced chest pains while preparing to celebrate Mass at St. Andrew Church in Eagle River.
According to a statement by the archdiocese, he was taken by ambulance to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage where he received immediate cardio vascular care. Doctors found no obstructions but kept him at the hospital for observation.
Archbishop Schwietz noted that he would likely need surgery to replace his aortic valve.
“It’s a pretty routine surgery they do nowadays,” he said, adding that for the next two weeks doctors have told him to maintain a light schedule and to avoid air travel.
The 76-year-old archbishop was resting at home and in good spirits On May 1.
“The good news is that the doctors did find out that I do in fact have a heart,” he joked.
He expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support he received over the past few days.
“I really appreciate all the prayers,” he said.
Archbishop Schwietz led the Anchorage Archdiocese for 15 years. He stepped down on Nov. 9 of last year and was succeeded by Archbishop Paul Etienne.
Since then Archbishop Schwietz has served as pastor of St. Andrew Church in Eagle River, where he ministers with Father Arthur Roraff.