News

April 5, 2024

Catholic priest burnt to death after robe catches fire during Easter ceremony

Catholic priest burnt to death after robe catches fire during Easter ceremony

A 60-year-old Catholic priest has died after his robes caught fire from a candle-light ceremony during an Easter vigil.

The priest, Javier Sánchez died from the horrific injuries of the burns in Zaragoza city, Spain.

According to Daily Mail, he suffered 50 per cent burns in the freak accident over the Easter weekend and lost his battle for life after four days in intensive care.

An ember bowl surrounded by candles caught fire and shot off sparks which ignited his robes.

It was learned that the 60-year-old died a hero as he stood between the burning bowl and nuns to protect them. 

Meanwhile, an investigation is underway as it is believed paraffin had been used on the ember bowl to help it burn.

Father Sanchez was rushed to Miguel Servet Hospital in Zaragoza but suffered horrific injuries and despite the best efforts of doctors later died following multiple organ failure. 

“The priest tried to protect the nuns of the convent when embers lit up in the basin that was used [for the fire] and that ultimately caused his death. Apparently a flammable substance had been used to start the fire. [The Easter Vigil] was held inside the convent,” said a source cited by Spanish newspaper El Heraldo de Aragón.

Father Sanchez presided over the ‘blessing of the fire’ – a ritual held during Mass on Holy Saturday when a paschal candle was lit and remained so for 50 days until the celebration of Pentecost.

The deceased was known as the ‘rock priest’ because of his love for music and for having composed many songs, as he released three albums over the course of his career. 

He also served as a priest at the Clinical Hospital of Zaragoza, in the parish of La Jota, and was a talk show host on television.

Tributes have flooded in, with one friend saying: “He was a very vital and very loved person.”

The Archbishop of Zaragoza stated the social network, saying: ‘It is with pain that we communicate that this morning the priest Javi Sánchez has died. We pray for his eternal rest.’

Pilar Martinez, secretary of the San Gregorio neighbourhood association, said the news of the priest’s death had come as ‘’a bucket of cold water.”

She said the priest had been “a good man,” even though he hadn’t been in the neighbourhood long.