.- In the past week, nine Catholic bishops have died worldwide after testing positive for COVID-19.
Between Jan. 8 and Jan. 15, bishops across three continents died as a result of the coronavirus. The deceased bishops ranged in age from 53 years old to 91. Five of the bishops died in Europe, where a new strain of COVID-19 has led many countries to implement further restrictions.
Four bishops died on the same day, Jan. 13: Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, who was 70 years old; Bishop Moses Hamungole of Monze, Zambia, who died at the age of 53; 87-year-old Bishop Mario Cecchini of Fano, Italy; and Cardinal Eusébio Oscar Scheid, the 88-year-old retired archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Tartaglia tested positive for COVID-19 after Christmas and was self-isolating, but Glasgow archdiocese stressed that the cause of his death was currently unclear.
Bells tolled across the Colombian diocese of Santa Marta on Jan. 12 to honor Bishop Luis Adriano Piedrahita Sandoval, 74, who died on Jan. 11 of complications from COVID-19. Bishop Cástor Oswaldo Azuaje of Trujillo, 69, became the first bishop from Venezuela to die after contracting the virus on Jan. 8.
Bishop Florentin Crihalmeanu, the 61-year-old bishop of the Greek-Catholic Eparchy of Cluj-Gherla in Romania, died on Jan. 12. He was remembered by his eparchy as “a diligent, meek, and humble soul.”
Polish Bishop Adam Dyczkowski, emeritus of Zielona Góra-Gorzów diocese, died on Jan. 10 at the age of 88 and Italian Archbishop Oscar Rizzato died at the age of 91 on Jan. 11. Rizzato had served as papal almsgiver under both St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Pope Francis expressed his condolences following the death of Cardinal Scheid in a telegram on Jan. 14.
“I offer fervent prayers to welcome him into eternal happiness and console him with hope in the resurrection and to all those who mourn the loss of their beloved pastor,” the pope wrote.