Diocese of Brooklyn mourns death of Jorge Ortiz-Gray, the first Catholic priest to die of COVID-19

March 30, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
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BOROUGHWIDE — The Diocese of Brooklyn mourned the death of Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay,the first Catholic priest in the United States to die as a result of COVID-19.

Ortiz-Gara died due to complications related to the coronavirus

Ortiz-Gara, 49, was Pastor of St. Brigid’s Church in Wyckoff Heights, Brooklyn and Diocesan Coordinator of the Ministry to Mexican immigrants.

He died on Friday, March 27, at Wyckoff Hospital Medical Center from complications related to the virus.

Courtesy of The Tablet

“This is a sad day and a tremendous loss for the Diocese of Brooklyn,” said Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. “Father Jorge was a great priest, beloved by the Mexican people and a tireless worker for all of the faithful in Brooklyn and Queens.”

Ortiz-Gara was born on October 16, 1970, in Mexico City, Mexico.

According to the Diocese of Brooklyn, he arrived at the group in 2009 and first ministered at St. Joseph’s in Prospect Heights while also serving as the Chaplain for the mission Ad Gentes in Brooklyn.

In 2014, he began serving as Administrator at St. Brigid’s.

In July 2019, Ortiz-Gara was installed as the Pastor. On December 10, 2019, he officially became a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

“Father Jorge was a great missionary among us,” DiMarzio added.

Courtesy of The Tablet

Ortiz-Gara coordinated the magnificent Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day traditions in the Diocese of Brooklyn, which include a Mass attended by thousands of pilgrims followed by a torch-lit pilgrimage through the streets of Brooklyn and Queens.

Looking ahead

DiMarzio discussed the future without Ortiz-Gara .

“I plead with the Mexican community, especially the people that crowded the Co-Cathedral on December 12 for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he said. “More than 3,000 of you were there. We must replace Father Jorge. We need vocations from the Spanish speaking community to care for the people of Brooklyn and Queens.”

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at a later date. Ortiz-Gara is survived by his parents, Jorge and Estella Ortiz, siblings, nieces and nephews.

-Jaime DeJesus

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