Forty-three Italian priests have died in November after contracting COVID-19 during Italy’s second wave of the pandemic. The tally makes for a total of 167 Catholic priests who lost their lives due to COVID-19 since February.
Bishop Marco Virgilio Ferrari, 87, died on November 23 because of the virus. He is a retired auxiliary bishop of Milan. In October, Bishop Giovanni D’Alise of the Diocese of Caserta died at the age of 72. (Read: Catholic Church Mourns Death of Two Filipino Priests)
Meanwhile, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, president of the Italian bishop’s conference, was critically ill with COVID-19 earlier this month. Thankfully, he is continuing to recover after testing negative. He spent 11 days in intensive care.
“In these days that have seen me go through the suffering of the contagion from COVID-19, I have been able to experience the humanity, the competence, the care put in place every day, with tireless concern, by all the personnel,” Bassetti said in a message to his diocese November 19. (Read: ‘Lockdown’ Declared as Word of the Year, ‘TikToker’ Joins Top 10 List)
“They will be in my prayers. I also carry with me in memory and in prayer all the patients who are still in the moment of trial. I leave you with an exhortation of comfort: let us remain united in the hope and love of God, the Lord never abandons us and, in suffering, he holds us in His arms,” he continued.
Italy is currently experiencing a second wave of the virus, with more than 795,000 positive cases, according to the Italian health ministry. Almost 55,000 people have died from the virus in the country since February.