Covid-19: First Catholic bishop dies of coronavirus
By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ
Italian missionary and Apostolic Vicar to Ethiopia’s Gambella Vicariate, Bishop Angelo Moreschi, SDB, died on Wednesday, 25 March.
Announcing his death, the Salesian News Agency states: “The Salesian community mourns the death of the Apostolic Vicar of Gambella (Ethiopia), namely Bishop Angelo Moreschi, SDB, who died today, March 25, in Brescia (Italy) due to the coronavirus.”
“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,” the statement reads.
In Ethiopia, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBCE) Secretary-General, Fr. Teshome Fikre, conveyed his condolences to the clergy, religious and the lay faithful of Gambella in a letter. He assured them of the “closeness and prayers” of the Bishops’ Conference and the Catholic Church in Ethiopia.
Bishop Moreschi was born in Nave, Italy. He joined the Salesian order and pronounced his first vows in 1974. After his ordination in 1982, he went to Ethiopia as a missionary.
On 16 November 2000, he was appointed Apostolic Prefect of Gambella. Nine years later, when the Prefecture was made a Vicariate, Bishop Moreschi was appointed its first Bishop.
Due to ill health, he returned to Italy for medical care and later resigned from his position as Apostolic Vicar.
He wanted to return to Ethiopia to live out his last days. But he tested positive for the Covid-19 virus last week, and was unable to return to the place he called home.