ROME — Pope Francis will be praying for the eternal repose of more cardinals and bishops at a memorial Mass Nov. 4 than ever before in his papacy.
Although obituaries for only three of the 17 cardinals who died between Nov. 15, 2020, and Oct. 3, 2021, listed COVID-19 as the cause of death, the pandemic contributed to the deaths of many of the 191 bishops and archbishops who died in the past year.
Early in November each year, the pope celebrates a memorial Mass for the recently deceased cardinals and bishops. The Mass booklet prepared by the office of papal liturgical ceremonies lists each prelate being remembered and the date of his death.
The three cardinals whose deaths were attributed to COVID-19 were: Brazilian Cardinal Jose Freire Falcão; Venezuelan Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino; and Brazilian Cardinal Eusebio Scheid.
The booklets for previous years of Pope Francis’ pontificate show that the 17 cardinals and 191 bishops being remembered in 2021 represent a death toll that is above the average.
The booklets, which are archived on the Vatican website, give the following counts:
— November 2020: six cardinals and 163 bishops.
— November 2019: 13 cardinals and 147 bishops.
— November 2018: nine cardinals and 154 bishops.
— November 2017: 14 cardinals and 137 bishops.
— November 2016: seven cardinals and 136 bishops.
— November 2015: 12 cardinals and 99 bishops.
— November 2014: 10 cardinals and 111 bishops.
— November 2013: nine cardinals and 136 bishops.