‘Rocker’ Spanish priest dies from burns suffered during lighting of Easter fire — By: Catholic News Agency

Father Javier Sánchez, 60, from the Archdiocese of Zaragoza in Spain died April 4, 2024, a victim of burns suffered when his liturgical vestments caught fire from a candle during the Easter Vigil on Saturday, March 30. / Credit: Óscar Cortel/Archbishopric of Zaragoza

ACI Prensa Staff, Apr 4, 2024 / 14:55 pm (CNA).

Father Javier Sánchez of the Archdiocese of Zaragoza in Spain died early this morning from burns he suffered when his liturgical vestments caught fire from a candle during the Easter Vigil on Saturday. According to the Spanish newspaper El Heraldo de Aragón, sources from the archdiocese said the priest “tried to protect the nuns of the convent.”

“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 the source cited by the Spanish newspaper.

Sánchez, 60, who was a parish priest at St. Gregory Church, was a counselor of the Brotherhood of Humility and chaplain of the Franciscan Conceptionists of the Santa Isabel neighborhood in Zaragoza, according to a statement published by the archdiocese.

When he was blessing the Easter fire as part of the Easter Vigil, the priest’s vestments caught fire, burning 50% of his body, according to diocesan sources cited by El Heraldo de Aragón.

After the accident, the priest was taken to Miguel Servet Hospital, where he was treated for serious burns but ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

A funeral for Sánchez will be held at noon on April 5. The Mass will be offered by the archbishop of Zaragoza, Carlos Escribano. At 5 p.m. a farewell ceremony will take place at the parish located in the Santa Isabel neighborhood.

Upon hearing the news, the Brotherhood of Humility expressed on Facebook its “deepest condolences and support to his entire family” and announced the celebration today of a Mass for his eternal rest. “May the humility of God and the sweetness of Mary shelter you in heaven. Rest in peace. We will never forget you, Javi. Care for us in glory,” the brotherhood wrote.

In addition to his pastoral work, the deceased priest was known as a “rocker priest” due to his love of music. Sánchez recorded three albums and gave numerous concerts in Spain and abroad.

This story was first publishedby ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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