A Catholic church in Queens buries 63 people, and possibly dozens more.
Two churches in New York City serving largely Hispanic populations have lost over 100 parishioners between them to COVID-19.
One of the churches, St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church in the Elmhurst section of Queens, N.Y., reported 63 deaths to the coronavirus disease. The other, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in midtown Manhattan, had 40.
New York City has had at least 20,000 deaths due to COVID-19, making it perhaps the hardest hit region in the United States.
The Associated Press reported that many in the two church communities are at risk in two ways. They have jobs classified as essential during the pandemic, at workplaces ranging from hospitals to supermarkets, where exposure to the virus can be higher. And many are undocumented immigrants from various parts of Latin America who are often afraid to go to a doctor or a hospital, fearing that might lead to their deportation.
Fr. Rick Beuther, pastor of St. Bartholomew’s, said that at least 63 parishioners have died from the virus, and possibly dozens more.
“The last eight, 10 weeks has been a real tsunami, a disaster for us here, between sickness, death, unemployment and just lack of services for the undocumented,” Fr. Beuther told AP.
Since the public celebration of Mass has been suspended, Fr. Beuther tries to call dozens of parishioners each day. Like St. Peter’s, St. Bartholomew’s tries to help parishioners with a food assistance program.