A FILIPINO American priest in Utah has died after a short battle with the coronavirus.
Father Reynato “Rene” Rodillas succumbed to COVID-19 at the age of 58, a few days after testing positive, Msgr. Colin F. Bircumshaw, vicar general of the Diocese of Salt Lake City announced on Friday, January 8.
“Date of death has yet to be determined by the medical examiner, but was probably on Friday, January 8, 2021,” read the announcement on the Intermountain Catholic website.
Rodillas tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, January 5, and was sent home from the emergency room with oxygen to quarantine and to recover at home.
The Fil-Am was the pastor of Saint James the Just in Ogden, Utah at the time of his death. He also served as the spiritual advisor for the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women.
Born on January 25, 1962, in Ilocos Sur, Philippines, Rodillas earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering (BSCE) from the University of Northern Philippines before entering the Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City, Philippines. He was ordained as a Divine Word Missionary in 1997.
In 2007, Rodillas came to the Diocese of Salt Lake City and served as a parochial vicar at Saints Peter and Paul Parish, West Valley City; Saint George Parish, St. George; and Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish, Midvale. He also served as administrator of Saint Olaf Parish, Bountiful.
In a 2019 interview by Intermountain Catholic, Rodillas said his greatest treasure is “being a priest.”
“Celebrating the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, for me is the most satisfying experience, because in spite of my unworthiness I am privileged to celebrate it. Celebrating the Eucharist is a reward in itself,” he continued.
“I am looking forward to knowing my new parishioners personally and journeying with them toward spiritual growth, and deepening my relationship with each of them and with God,” he added.
Rodillas is survived by his mother, Capistrana Rodillas; and siblings, Condrado Rodillas, Rosemary Rubia and Imelda Rodillas. (AJPress)
Editor’s note: The Asian Journal is working to document those of Filipino descent who have lost their lives because of the coronavirus in the United States. If you know of someone or would like to offer a remembrance of someone who has died of COVID-19, please tell us about them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Remembering Lives Lost.”