Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay Honored at Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day Celebration

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, Coronavirus, Entertainment, Faith, Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay, Media, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queens, NY

By Jessica Easthope

No matter how much music and dancing filled the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe felt empty without Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay. But he was there in spirit on a day he helped design as one of the first Mexican priests in the Diocese of Brooklyn.

“I believe that he is with us, I have his rosary here this is his rosary that I have with me so I feel his presence with us,” said Father Baltazar Sanchez Alonzo, who has been named the new Director of the Mexican Apostolate for the Diocese of Brooklyn following Father Jorge’s passing.

Father Jorge was also the first priest in the United States to pass away from COVID-19, he was only 49 years old. In the time he served the Diocese of Brooklyn he breathed new life into cultural celebrations. Father Jorge is now at rest in Mexico, but on Saturday his family was in Brooklyn celebrating his life and legacy in the Diocese of Immigrants.

“My brother was an example for life, and I come here with honor for my family and for my brother,” said Erais and Edgar Ortiz-Garay, Father Jorge’s sister and brother.

The emotional celebration was scaled back. Instead of thousands about 200 people socially distanced at mass. Everyone wore masks and t-shirts with Father Jorge’s name on them.

“Father Jorge was the ideator, we’re so sorry God took him from us but he’s helping us from his place with the Lord to keep the Mexican Apostolate going,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.

The Guadalupe Torch which symbolizes the Light of Christ is also lit, this year, in memory of those we’ve lost. For Mexicans in the Diocese of Brooklyn Father Jorge’s light is with them.