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He Said Mass Via Live Stream. 8 Days Later, He Fell to the Virus.

Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay did not want his parishioners to be afraid.

The world all around us is in crisis, he said as he celebrated Mass at St. Brigid’s Church in Brooklyn on March 19, the pews empty and his flock watching at home via live stream. But perhaps the coronavirus, and the fear it has brought, can be seen as an opportunity to become closer to God.

“There’s no better time than this time of trials, this time of Online News  challenges, to fulfill our call to holiness,” said Father Jorge, as he was known. “At these moments of trial and crisis, at these times when maybe we are asking what will happen to us, trust in the Father.”

He assured his parishioners that he was in good health.

But eight days later Father Jorge died at Wyckoff Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn. He was 49.

He was the first Catholic priest in the United States known to have Press Release Distribution Online Services  died of the coronavirus, according to the Diocese of Brooklyn, which said two more of its priests had also tested positive.

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Father Jorge’s death on March 27 marked a grim milestone for the Roman Catholic Church, that most ritualistic of institutions, whose sacred and elaborate traditions have been utterly disrupted by the pandemic. Its fundamental rites — including congregating to worship — have been fractured by imposed isolation and social distancing.

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