Reading this news, I was reminded of St. Damien of Molokai.
Robert Ramirez Mayorga was 50 years old and a joyful priest. He was born in the town of Nutrias, in Venezuela, and arrived in Valencia in 2017 to further his studies at the John Paul II Pontifical Institute.
Fr. Robert was the pastor of the parish of Our Lady of Hope, in the neighborhood of Benicalap, in Valencia. He was also the hospital chaplain at the Ernest Lluch Center. He had accepted this last assignment just as the hospital began to receive COVID-19 patients.
Fr. Robert clung tightly to the Rosary, both figuratively and literally. Priest and physician Fr. Luis Sanchez explained to the diocesan newspaper Paraula, which reported the news of Fr. Robert’s death,
When the doctors intubated him for the second time to try to save his life, he had such a firm grip on the rosary in his hands that even with the drugs that they gave him to facilitate the procedure, which were muscle relaxants, they couldn’t easily remove it… It was really very difficult.He died on February 17, after a three-week struggle against COVID-19 at the Arnau de Vilanova Hospital in Valencia.
The priest caught the virus while attending to the patients under his care. Everyone saw in his ministry an act of “total and tireless dedication.”
Fr. Robert understood the risk he was taking as a chaplain, but he accepted the risk for the sake of ministering to the sick.
“He did not hesitate for a moment to accept the offer we made him to be a hospital chaplain, despite the fact that the Ernest Lluch Center we assigned him to was beginning to receive COVID patients,” recalls Fr. Luis Sanchez.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him …