US / Venezuela – Covid 19: 41 priests and 4 bishops killed in country since March 2020
Caracas (Agenzia Fides) – From March 2020 to December 13, 2021, 413 priests and 26 bishops in Venezuela were affected by Covid 19 disease, of which 41 priests and 4 bishops died. The Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference (CEV) announced on December 13, 2021, the release of updated statistics. In 38 of Venezuela’s 41 parish districts, clergy have been diagnosed with Covid 19, but only in 17. Dioceses report deaths due to Covid 19 or related causes. The age of the deceased was 40 to 90, with an average age of 61. The youngest priest to die was 36 years old.
The four bishops who died (three of them Emeritus) were: Mgr Cástor Oswaldo Azuaje, 69, bishop of the Diocese of Trujillo, died January 8, 2021; Bishop Caesar Ortega, 82, Bishop Emeritus of Barcelona, died April 9, 2021; Bishop Tulio Chirivella, 88, Archbishop Emeritus of Barquisimeto, died April 11, 2021; Cardinal George Urosa Savino, 79, Archbishop of Caracas Emeritus, died September 23, 2021.
Currently, the Venezuelan church has 2,068 priests, 345 permanent deacons and 60 bishops (41 Ordinary, 3 Auxiliary and 16 Emeritus). “In the midst of a global crisis facing the epidemic, priests are not free from the dangers of suffering from Covid 19 disease. Priests offer their services at a time when people are seeking the comfort and intimacy of the spirit. To the Church,” the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference wrote, CEV has always emphasized the whole population. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 12/14/2021)