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Coronavirus killed more than 120 priests in Italy


POPE FRANCIS
I cannot conclude this Mass without remembering priests.

On Holy Thursday the pope asked for prayers for the more than 60 priests who had then-died in Italy due to COVID-19. According to journalist Francesco Ognibene, from Avvenire, currently more than 120 have died.

After doctors, they are the second most-affected group from the pandemic in the country. Their advanced age made them a vulnerable group. However, Francesco Ognibene says these deaths are also proof that they were priests committed to their people. They became infected because they were among their parishioners, among their flock, and not separated from them.

Although they were elderly, not all had retired. Fr. Quadri, 76, was known as the “priest of migrants.” In the last 18 years, he has been in charge of their pastoral care in Milan.

Giovanni Melis became a priest after his wife died. He was always very active in the parish, both before and after being ordained. He was 72 years old.

Younger priests also died, such as Paolo Camminanti, 53, who was responsible for youth ministry in his diocese.

Bergamo, in the north of Italy, was one of the areas hardest-hit by the tragedy. The pope donated €60,000 to hospitals and spoke to Bishop Francesco Beschi by phone.

"The pope, moved, wanted to be close to all of us."

Although pandemic numbers in Italy have drastically improved, the situation in March and April was dramatic. It was the country with the most deaths from the coronavirus in the world. The death of priests has shocked and continues to shock Italy's parishioners.

Javier Romero

Translation: Melissa Butz