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Catholic Bishop of Ethiopia is first prelate to succumb to COVID-19

Bishop Angelo Moreschi
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Bishop Angelo Moreschi spent his 38-year vocation as a missionary to Africa.

The coronavirus has claimed the life of a bishop of the Catholic Church. Bishop Angelo Moreschi, 68, reportedly died of complications related to the COVID-19 disease on March 25, 2020.

Bishop Moreschi spent the entirety of his career as a Catholic priest as a missionary to Africa. Ordained in 1982, he served as Provincial Councilor for the Vice-Province Africa Ethiopia-Eritrea, as well as the pastor of Dilla, South Ethiopia, before he was named Prefect of Gambella, Ethiopia, by Pope St. John Paul II. In 2009 he was honored by Pope Benedict XVI, who named him Apostolic Vicar of the Apostolic Vicariate of Gambella and titular bishop of Elephantaria in Mauretania.

His brief biography explains that Bishop Moreschi was diabetic and had previously lost one of his feet to amputation. He was visiting Italy for medical purposes when he was infected with the coronavirus. The bishop was briefly hospitalized for the disease before he passed away.

The Vatican News reports that the prelate’s death was announced in a statement by Salesian News Agency, which read:

“In his mission as Prefect and then as Apostolic Vicar, he continued to embody the Salesian focus in helping children, accompanying them by his practical spirit and his strong apostolic zeal.”

They went on to note that it was Bishop Moreschi’s wish to return to Ethiopia, where he would have liked to spend the rest of his days, but due to the complications of the novel virus, he was unable to make the return trip to Africa.

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