According to the UCA News (Union of Catholic Asian News) portal, Aldino Amato, a revered Italian-born Dominican priest, died after contracting the coronavirus at a hospital in Lahore.
The 90-year-old priest was laid to rest in the compound of Our Lady of Mercy parish house in Punjab’s Okara 6 Chak village, in a grave he constructed for himself.
Amato was a leader in education and development in Pakistan for nearly six decades.
Amato, the Faisalabad Diocese’s last foreign missionary, died on May 1 in Lahore, where he had been on a ventilator for ten days after testing positive for Covid-19.
Hundreds of faithful showered petals on his coffin during his funeral, but only Dominican friars were able to carry him, according to UCA News.
Bishop Indrias Rehmat of Faisalabad presided over the funeral Mass at the Amato girls’ college in Okara village, which was attended by over 20 priests.
Amato established six churches, three schools and hostels, two educational centres for the visually disabled, two housing colonies, and a women’s college after arrival in Pakistan as a missionary in 1962.
Bishop Rehmat said Amato “shared to the full our sorrows and joys, and his death here in Pakistan was a testament to the commitment with which he gave his whole life to our people.
With over 800,000 cases and 18,000 deaths recorded, Pakistan is struggling to control a third wave of coronavirus infections, with just a fraction of the population vaccinated.
Asad Umar, the Federal Planning Minister, said on Sunday that the next two weeks are “important,” as health officials hurry to expand intensive care space.