The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news agency confirmed that Fr. Arnold Sta. Maria Cañoza, the parish priest of San Agustin church in Intramuros, has passed away due to Covid19.
An Order of St. Augustine (OSA) member for 14 years, Fr. Cañoza died at the age of 45.
Furthermore, due to the cause of death, his entire parish community is now on lockdown and observation.
The tragedy of Fr. Cañoza comes as Archbishop Gilbert Garcera of Lipa, Batangas, tests positive for Covid19, making him the 10th prelate to become infected by the disease.
Several other priests in the area also tested positive for Covid19.
Abp. Garcera expressed gratitude to the members of his congregation that offered prayers and concern as he and his fellow clergymen recover from infection.
“As we pray for an end to this Covid-19 pandemic, let us entrust ourselves to the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Caysasay and consecrate ourselves to the spiritual fatherhood of St. Joseph, the foster father of our Lord,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Fr. Anton Pascual, the executive director of Caritas Manila and president of Radio Veritas, also tested positive for Covid19, along with other members of the secular non-profit.
However, the volunteer arm of Caritas Manila will still be able to aid those in need during the pandemic.
Of the ten prelates that have tested positive for Covid19, two have succumbed to the illness: Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz and Imus Bishop Emeritus Manuel Sobreviñas.