At least 117 Catholic priests in India died in the 33 days between April 10 and May 14, according to a list compiled by a Capuchin priest. Source: Crux.
Fr Suresh Mathew, the editor of Indian Currents, compiled a list of the priests who have died during the country’s deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, although he has discovered it is just scratching the surface of the losses India’s Church has suffered.
The Church, although making up less than 3 per cent of the population, has been playing an outsized role in offering health and social services to the affected population. Now the Church’s ministers are paying the price.
“During the second wave, especially after Easter, every day we received news of priests dying due to coronavirus. Being a missionary priest, I wanted to know the number of the confreres who died,” Fr Mathew said.
“I wanted to know the extent of the tragedy and the reasons. With journalistic interest, I began compiling the list of priests who died in the second wave.”
Fr Mathew said it was very important to keep track of the number of priests who are dying during the pandemic and called on the leadership at the bishops’ conference to develop a plan to document the data and statistics.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, the president of the bishops’ conference, said the Church in India “is pained with the high number of priests who lost their lives during this second wave of COVID.”