Bergamo, Italy, Mar 19, 2020 / 07:30 am America/Denver (CNA).
Italian dioceses surrounding Milan have reported the deaths of 30 priests during the coronavirus outbreak.
Avvenire, the Italian newspaper owned by the Italian bishops conference, attributes at least 28 of these priests’ deaths to COVID-19, and also notes two additional cases: that of Fr. Guido Mortari, who died of pneumonia before he could get tested, and Fr. Giorgio Bosini, who had a serious underlying medical condition.
All but three of the priests were over the age of 70, and more than half were over 80 years old. The youngest priest to die from coronavirus, Fr. Andrea Avanzini of the Diocese of Parma, was 54 years old.
Eleven of the deceased priests come from the Diocese of Bergamo, where at least 15 other priests have been hospitalized, according to the local bishop
Pope Francis called the bishop of Bergamo on March 18 to express his closeness to the many who are suffering in the diocese.