Two retired bishops, two priests contract virus in Texas retirement home

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Retired Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston is seen Oct. 10, 2019, at the Vatican Embassy in Washington. The archbishop, who lives in a retirement home in Texas, has tested positive for the coronavirus. (CNS/Jim Stipe, Catholic Mobilizing Network)

Washington — The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is asking for prayers for those who have contracted COVID-19, including its retired archbishop and its retired auxiliary bishop living in a priest retirement home of 18 residents.

In addition to the two prelates, two priests also tested positive.

"Please pray for all those affected by COVID-19 in recent days, including our priests and Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza and retired Auxiliary Bishop Vincent M. Rizzotto of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston," said a June 29 statement from the archdiocese.

Fiorenza, a past president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is 89. Rizzotto is 88.

Texas is one of the states with a recent alarming uptick of COVID-19 cases. By June 29, it had registered a daily high of more than 5,000 new cases for the sixth day in a row, and by June 30, it had registered over 153,000 confirmed cases. California, Florida and Arizona also were registering high numbers of people contracting the virus and, with Texas, now are emerging as epicenters of the pandemic in the U.S.

The archdiocese said that after learning "a staff member of the food service contractor, as well as an independent caregiver, both tested positive for COVID-19, all of the priests living at the retirement residence and its employees and contractors" were tested.

Though none of those who tested positive showed symptoms, they have been instructed to quarantine in their rooms for 14 days, the statement said.


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