Industrial-scale deaths in one small town

Industrial-scale deaths and funerals have fallen to Father Mario Carminati’s lot since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic took hold in Italy.

Clusters of coffins arrive every day and are laid on the floor of St. Joseph’s Church in the northern Italian town of Seriate.

“Authorities didn’t know where to put the coffins,” Carminati says.

When enough have accumulated, he and others priests give them a hasty blessing. Then a forklift loads them on to army trucks to cemeteries and crematoria.

Gatherings have been banned throughout Italy because of a national lockdown. Church funerals cannot be held.

In Italy, over 9,000 people have died of the disease – almost twice as many deaths as any other nation.

Carminati says the saddest thing for him was that many of his parishioners died alone, without loved ones. Restrictions in place to stem the spread of the virus do not allow family members into hospitals.

“We often talk about the most needy and these are truly the most needy now,” he says.

“They are the most needy even though they are no longer alive. No one has the time or opportunity to take care of them anymore so I decided to open the house of the Lord to them.”

After he and another priest bless the latest batch of coffins, forty in total, army personnel in protective gear load them onto trucks covered by camouflaged tarps.

Bells toll as the trucks leave the church. Residents looking down from windows and balconies make the sign of the cross.

As the caravan crosses an intersection, a town policeman wearing a medical mask and white gloves stood at attention and salutes.


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News category: World.

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