By Andy Sheehan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — He is the leader of some 700,000 Catholics in our region, but reluctantly Bishop David Zubik will undergo surgery Thursday that will put him on the sidelines for a month’s time.

“I think we’re going to get this back thing straight for sure,” he said.

The bishop underwent surgery last April for bulging discs in his back which had been pressing on the nerves in his legs, causing him great pain and challenging his mobility. Now, more discs need to be operated on.

“And I’m hopeful that this is going to resolve all the issue with pain that I’ve been having, difficult going up and down steps and I’m very hopeful that the bottom line’s going to be a good one,” he said.

Dr. Daniel Bursick of UPMC Mercy Hospital, who performed the previous operation, will lead the surgical team. The doctor advises a month’s bed rest, but the bishop already seemed to balk at giving up the reins the of diocese for any time longer than the four-hour surgery.

“The doctor said I had to cancel everything on the calendar for the month of January but that doesn’t mean I still can’t be in charge,” Zubik said.

And bishop says his back problem has been a teacher and a blessing even though the pain has been great.

“But when you take a look at that in comparison to people who have physical suffering, people who have emotional suffering, people who have economic suffering, I’ve let this opportunity help me I hope become a better shepherd to people who suffer in much greater ways.”

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