Monsignor Quitugua dies of COVID-19; JIC reports 28th COVID death

Monsignor David Quitugua (Guampedia photo)

Monsignor David I.A. Quitugua, a prominent member of the island’s clergy, has died from COVID-19.

Congressman Michael San Nicolas, Quitugua’s nephew, confirmed the news.

In a statement, San Nicolas said: “This hurts. Bad. In a time of much pain and ugliness it was always reassuring to know that a man of such holiness as Monsignor Quitugua was not only there as a spiritual guide but as family. This past year has been hard, and it is made harder still…but Lord we declare that all good things come from You, he was of You, we present his Soul to You, and we pledge in our pain our devotion to You. Amen.”

According to Guampedia, Father David was the 15th CHamoru to be ordained as a Catholic priest.

The Archdiocese of Agana issued a statement mourning the passing of its longtime priest, saying Quitugua was a beloved Chamorro clergyman who served faithfully in the Catholic Church for 56 years.

Archbishop Michael Byrnes has extended his deepest prayers and condolences to the Quitugua family, his fellow clergymen and all in the Catholic Church and community in general.

One of the most senior priests of the Archdiocese, Monsignor David was Pastor Emeritus of San Juan Bautista Catholic Church in Ordot. He had served as the pastor of San Juan Bautista since September of 1993 before his retirement in 2016.

A very kind, loving and gentle priest, Monsignor David was ordained a priest on Feb. 11, 1964 by then Bishop Apollinaris Baumgartner at the Agana Cathedral.

He celebrated his 50th golden jubilee as a priest in 2014 surrounded by numerous family members, supporters and members of his San Juan Bautista parish.

According to the Archdiocese, Monsignor David is also well known as one of the main founders of Guam’s Catholic Social Service, a longtime faith-based non-profit organization devoted to helping the island’s needy.

In May of 1975, the late Archbishop Felixberto C. Flores assigned then Father David I. A. Quitugua to supervise the resettlement program for thousands of Vietnamese refugees on Guam who were homeless and jobless. He received a “Distinguished Humanitarian Award” from the United States Catholic Conference for his work.

In an effort to respond to the social needs of Guam, then Father David founded the Catholic Social Services in 1977 and served as its first Director.

The Archdiocese announced it will release more information regarding Masses and Rosaries in the days to come.

28th death

Meanwhile, the Joint Information Center, while not identifying Quitugua, did confirm that a 28th COVID-19-related fatality occurred at the Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH) today at approximately 4:30 p.m. (ChST).

According to JIC, the patient was an 84-year-old male and had underlying health conditions. He was initially admitted to GMH on September 3 and tested positive for COVID-19 during initial work-up.

“Our grief continues as we lose another to COVID-19. Jeff, Lt. Governor Josh, and I express our sincerest condolences and sympathies to his family and friends, and they will remain in our thoughts and prayers,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. “I know these announcements have taken their toll on us all, but I want you to know that you are not alone. The virus may be cruel, but it is not stronger than the love we have for each other. Our island must remain committed to protecting each other and keeping each other safe. That is the only way we can get through this,” Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said.

Later in the evening, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio issued the following statement on the passing of Monsignor David Quitugua:

“Monsignor David Quitugua led a life of service. He was devoted to his parishioners and provided spiritual guidance and support for those who needed it. After surviving the Japanese Occupation on Guam during World War II, he dedicated his life to uplifting our island through the Church. He founded the Catholic Social Service, a faith-based, non-profit organization that continues to serve and uplift all members of the community spiritually, intellectually, and economically. His passing not only affects his family and friends but our entire island. As scripture tells us, ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.’ Monsignor Quitugua will be remembered for his warmth, comfort, and deep and abiding faith. Our prayers and condolences go to his family and the Archdiocese. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”