Venezuelan Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, who led the Archdiocese of Caracas for 13 years, died after a monthlong battle with Covid-19. He was 79.
Announcing the cardinal’s death Sept. 23, Cardinal Baltazar Porras, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Caracas, asked “everyone to pray for his eternal rest as the Church in Venezuela and the universal Church mourns.”
Pope Francis expressed his condolences in a telegram to Cardinal Porras, remembering Cardinal Urosa as a “selfless shepherd who, throughout many years and with faithfulness, gave his life to the service of God and the Church.”
Cardinal Urosa was hospitalized Aug. 27 after he was diagnosed with Covid-19 and was transferred to the intensive care unit the next day.
Shortly after the announcement of his death, the Venezuelan bishops’ conference released a letter Cardinal Urosa had written before being moved to intensive care. In the letter, the cardinal expressed his love for the people of Venezuela and renewed his “absolute dedication to their freedom, to their institutions, to the defense of the rights of the people in the face of the abuses committed by the national authorities.”
“In that regard, I have always acted, not out of hatred, not out of resentment, but in defense of freedom, justice and the rights of the Venezuelan people,” Cardinal Urosa wrote. “I hope that Venezuela will come out of this negative situation.”
Born in Caracas, he studied philosophy in Venezuela and theology in Toronto as well as at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.
Ordained to the priesthood in 1967, he served as rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary and as vicar general of the Archdiocese of Caracas before being named auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese by St. John Paul II in 1982. Eight years later, he was named archbishop of Valencia.
He was appointed to lead the Archdiocese of Caracas in 2005 and created a cardinal in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Francis accepted his resignation in 2018 after the cardinal turned 75.—CNS