Madrid (Friday, 09.26.2014, Gaudium Press) The Catholic Church continues on the front line of the fight against Ebola, alarmingly affecting West Africa, the latest victim being religious brother Manuel García Viejo, 69 years old, a member of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God, a Roman Catholic order that runs a charity for victims of Ebola, who was being treated in Madrid, Spain. “The Pontifical Mission Societies shares the grief and prayers with the family and religious brothers of Bro. Manuel,” Fr. Anastasio Gil García, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (OMP) in Spain, said in a statement dated September 26. “His testimony as a missionary is still a necessary point of reference” he added.
| Brother Manuel Garcia Viejo, member of the Hospitaller
Order of St. John of God – Photo: LoiolaXXI
“With the death of Bro. Manuel García Viejo, due to the Ebola virus disease, a deep pain is felt in the family of the hospital of San Juan de Dios” reads the statement from the Pontifical Mission Societies. “His death, as in the case of Bro. Miguel Pajares, also affects the whole Church mainly in its missionaries. Bro. Manuel was in Sierra Leone as part of his missionary vocation, to go to meet the poorest and the most vulnerable. Among the weak he became weak himself, to the point of dying like so many other victims of this disease for which medicine has no effective response yet. “
On the other hand, the Spanish Conference of Religious stated that “they join in prayer with all religious members in Spain and express their closeness with the family of Bro. Manuel García Viejo and with the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God.” The institution thanked all medical efforts that have been undertaken to save Bro. Manuel’s life and stressed “the joy of his exemplary life devoted to others, and were delighted to have him as a religious and having the opportunity to learn so much from him.” His testimony was offered by the Pontifical Mission Societies as an encouragement to all missionaries to continue to give their lives for the love of others with hope and faithfulness.
As reported by local media, the remains of Bro. García Viejo will rest next to Bro. Pajares, once his body is cremated according to medical protocols, to prevent the spread of the disease in the Spanish territory. Bro. García Viejo’s vocation of service to the sick of his religious community was at the forefront of the fight against the disease. He was the medical director of the hospital of the Order of St. John of God in Lunsar, Sierra Leona. The experimental treatments applied to him failed to save his life. There is still no established cure for this decease.
“We pray to God for Bro. Manuel, who from heaven will continue caring for the needy and the sick,” said Fr. Anastasio Gil in his official statement. “We hope that our society, through the efforts of our scientists will soon find the right response to this disease, which is inflicting so much pain and anxiety in the land of missions”.