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Enugu Catholic Diocese mourns priest killed by COVID-19

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MASSES were on Tuesday, celebrated in every parish in the Enugu Catholic Diocese for the peaceful repose of a priest, Rev. Fr. Joachim Cabanyes OP, who died as a result of COVID-19 complications at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Isolation Center, Enugu.

  Fr. Cabanyes was a missionary priest of the Opus Dei Prelature who worked in the diocese and had served the Nigeria Church for 28 years.

  Rev. Fr. Nkemjika Igweshi, the Assistant Diocesan Chancellor and the Secretary to the Bishop of Enugu Diocese, who also made the disclosure to Newsmen in Enugu had this to say: “He was such a nice, easy-going, cordial, generous, prayerful, and dedicated pastor. He hailed from Spain but loved our people so much and always attended our diocesan functions. His body has just been laid to rest, following the NCDC guidelines.

  “Please as we pray for his peaceful repose, let us know that COVID-19 is real and we will do well to observe all the necessary health precautions and safety measures,” he said.

  Also speaking on the death of Fr. Joachim, the Public Relation Officer of Catholic Diocese of Enugu, Fr. Benjamin Achi said the deceased was such a nice, easy-going, cordial, generous, prayerful and dedicated priest, stressing that, “he loved our people so much and always attended diocesan functions”.

  “As priests, we cannot shy away from our pastoral duties, but the only thing is just for us to take the normal precautions as much as we can as we go about ministering to people and administering sacraments. Honestly, his death came to us as a rude shock because it had not been long, just over a week ago that he told us that he tested positive to COVID- 19, soliciting our prayers.

  “So, nobody expected that he was going to succumb to the disease because throughout his battle with the disease, he was very calm, peaceful and courageous and we had all hoped that he would pull through. Everybody felt bad about his death. Fr Joachim was of the prelature of the Opus Dei but he has been working in Enugu Diocese for close to 30 years now.

  “So, he is a part and parcel of us and we really felt bad about his passing – everybody, beginning from the bishop to all the priests and the faithful. To lose someone that has been part of the presbyterium in Enugu for such long years in that manner is so terrible. But what can we do but to pray for the repose of his soul?

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