Virginia diocese mourns death of employee in Spanish train wreck

Ana Maria Cordoba Courtesy of the Diocese of Arlington CNA US Catholic News 7 26 13 Ana Maria Cordoba. Courtesy of the Diocese of Arlington.

Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington has expressed his condolences over the death of employee Ana Maria Cordoba, who was killed in the July 24 train crash in Santiago, Spain.

"The tragic death of Ana Maria Cordoba in the recent train derailment in Spain is the cause of immense grief not only to her beloved family – her parents, husband, daughter and son –  but also to the 'family' of our diocesan Chancery," Bishop Loverde said in a July 26 statement.

"However, precisely in the midst of this unimaginable tragedy and sense of profound loss, we cling to the promise of the Risen Lord Jesus that eternal life awaits those who believe in Him and follow in His footsteps," he said.

Along with her husband, Phillipe, and daughter, Christine, Cordoba was traveling to visit her son, Santiago, who had just completed his journey to the ancient pilgrimage site. They planned to celebrate the Feast of St. James together as a family in Spain.

Cordoba, who was 47, had worked at the diocese since 2006 in the employee benefits office. Her mother, Maria Angel, serves as the Executive Assistant to the Vicar General of the Diocese, Father Mark S. Mealey.

Cordoba's husband and daughter, who will be a senior at Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, are in stable condition at a hospital in Spain.

Bishop Loverde said that the diocese is praying "together as a family" that eternal rest be granted to Cordoba and that her family makes a full recovery and "experiences the consolation and comfort that comes from the Heart of Jesus Christ."

The crash occurred on the eve of the Feast of St. James, the patron saint of Spain. The city canceled all festivities in respect of the victims of the crash.

Of the 218 passengers, 141 were injured while 80 have died from the wreck.  When the train crashed, it was travelling at speeds twice the limit for that part of the track, investigations have revealed.

The driver of the train, Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, is under investigation and remains under police guard in a Santiago hospital.

Pope Francis has been praying for the victims and their families, Vatican Fr. Federico Lombardi said at a July 24 press conference.

The Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela, Julián Barrio Barrio, said he is "shocked" at the horrific accident and that it has left him "almost speechless."

In response, he is giving "all his support to the families of the victims, in these difficult times" and is "raising up his prayers for the deceased."

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