Bishop Robert N. Lynch, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, is recovering from his second surgery in less than a month.
The diocese posted an update of his condition on its Web site early Friday afternoon, saying he remains hospitalized in critical care, but that his health is improving.
"He was able to sit up and enjoy his meals today," it said.
Frank Murphy, director of communications for the diocese, said Lynch, 68, had a second surgery last week because of an infection.
"This past Tuesday, he was serious, but stable," Murphy said. "He's sort of gone through the rough part that he had to face, but now he is improving."
Lynch told Tampa Bay area Catholics about his health problems in a July 7 post on his For his Friends blog. He said then that a colonoscopy on July 6 had revealed a large polyp and that his gastroenterologist advised that it be removed and tested for colorectal cancer.
The bishop wrote that the doctor found that an outer portion of the polyp was not cancerous and that he was "hoping and praying for the same result when the entire mass is removed."
That surgery was performed on July 27. Lynch has not said whether the larger mass was cancerous.
He had expected to remain at an undisclosed hospital about five to seven days and return to work at the end of August. That return will be delayed. "We expect that his recovery will take longer," Murphy said.
He added that Father Robert Morris, vicar general of the diocese, visits the bishop every morning and evening.
"We sort of get our updates from him," Murphy said.
Lynch was consecrated bishop of the diocese that covers Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties in January 1996.
Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2283.