Bishop Cheri resting after heart bypass surgery

By Peter Finney Jr.
NEW ORLEANS – After suffering a mild heart attack, Auxiliary Bishop Fernand Cheri of the Archdiocese of New Orleans underwent double bypass surgery June 1 at Touro Infirmary and is now recuperating at his residence.
“I’d like to ask everyone to keep me in prayer and try not to contact me because it’s better that I can rest and recuperate and get back to ministry,” Bishop Cheri said.
Bishop Cheri conferred confirmation at St. Joachim Church in Marrero on May 27, and he woke up early the next morning having difficulty taking deep breaths.
He was taken by ambulance to Touro, where tests revealed he had “a slight heart attack” and also had two blocked arteries.
“They said one was blocked over 90 percent, and that’s the one they call the widow-maker,” Bishop Cheri said. “It’s one of those silent killers.”
Doctors first tried to resolve the blockages through less invasive angioplasty but stopped the procedure when they determined the blockages were too great.
Bishop Cheri had to wait until June 1 for the bypass surgery in order to give his heart time to recover from the angioplasty procedure.
The bypass surgery went fine, Bishop Cheri said, but he had to spend a few extra days in the hospital because he got lightheaded after taking a particular medicine.
“I was born with one kidney, which complicates a lot of stuff,” Bishop Cheri said. “They’re trying to balance out what’s going on. It’s going to take time. I’ve just got to give myself time.”
Bishop Cheri said his recuperation of several months would be a challenge because he considers himself a “horrible” patient.
“Patience is not my middle name,” he said. “God is testing me. I’m grateful for all the prayers.”
Bishop Cheri spoke in Jackson earlier this year at the diocesan celebration in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History Month.
(Peter Finney Jr. can be reached at