Indian Church loses 6 priests in 36 hours to COVID-19

The Church in India lost six priests in just 36 hours to the coronavirus disease.

“Pray for Gujarat. Today we lost five priests. 1 CMI, 2 Society of Jesus, 1 SVD, 1 Baroda diocesan,” read a message on the social media account of Signis.

The five priests were among 97 deaths reported in the state along with 9,541 new coronavirus cases on April 17.

In Ahmedabad, the disease also took the life of Father Jerry Sequeira, superior of the Jesuit community and parish priest of St. Ignatius Loyola Church, on Sunday, April 18. He was former provincial of the Jesuits in Gujarat.

“It is a particularly sad time for us in the Church of Gujarat that we have lost five priests in less than a day,” said Jesuit priest Cedric Prakash.

Jesuit Father Erwin Lazarado, 58, died on April 17 at the New Life Para Medical Premium Hospital. He was suffering from cancer and was diagnosed with pneumonia and tested of COVID-19 last week.

Father Jesuraj Arputham, 60, also a Jesuit  from Gujarat province, was parish priest in Dhanduka village in Ahmedabad district. He died on April 16 in a hospital at Dindigul, Tamil Nadu. 

Father Paulraj Nepoleon, 38, a priest of Baroda diocese, died on April 17. He  was ordained a priest five years ago. He died at the Kasturba Hospital in Valsad, Gujarat.

Divine Word Father Rayyappan, 56, died on April 17 at St Francis Hospital in Dahod, Baroda diocese. He served the diocese for 35 years.

Father John Fisher Painadath, 91, of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, died on April 16 at Christ Hospital in Rajkot. He suffered a heart attack as he was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 infection. - Frank Krishner / RVA News