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Mecca priest Father Francisco Valdovinos dies from Covid-19 complications

The Missionary Servants of the most Holy Trinity confirmed Father Francisco Valdovinos death Sunday Afternoon.

On their Facebook page the church released a statement Sunday saying, "Please pray for the repose of the soul of Fr. Francisco Valdovinos, S.T., who went home to our Lord today due to complications related to COVID-19. We are grateful for the gift of Fr. Francisco’s life and his vocation as a Missionary Servant priest since 1994. He will be missed. We entrust him now to God, the giver of all life and implore Our Lady of Guadalupe to welcome him into the kingdom."

The Superior General, Father Michael Barth, announced his death through a statement.

For several weeks Father Francisco Valdovinos was kept on a respirator and his condition did not improve, Father Barth reported.

Monsignor Howard Lincoln from Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Palm Desert said Valdovinos would be missed.

"He was absolutely committed to his people. He had a deep desire to be a good priest to his people," said Monsignor Howard Lincoln.

MORE: Faithful remember the many impacts of a local Catholic leader, Father Fransisco Valdovinos

Valdovinos became a priest in 1994. Over the years, he would serve communities in Mexico City, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Tallahassee, FL, and Compton, CA. He made his way to the small unincorporated community of Mecca in 2018.

When he arrived he noted that he didn't know much about the community.

"I just knew that it was in the Coachella Valley and that it was a migrant population," Valdovinos told Telemundo 15's Marco Revuelta back in Sept. 2020.

But he quickly worked to learn more about the area and how to help its residents, much like he had in his previous stops.

Over time, he continued to put together different initiatives to help the community. He helped organize health clinics, education projects for those lacking reading or writing skills, and developed programs to offer legal advice on issues such as immigration.

His work for the community was a big reason why Telemundo 15 chose to spotlight him during Hispanic Heritage Month in 2020.

The pandemic didn't put a stop to Valdovinos' dedication to the community.

As numerous County leaders have mentioned in the wake of this tragedy, Valdovinos was on the frontlines, helping organize food distribution. Using his church as a COVID testing site to help the east valley which has been particularly affected by coronavirus. And through it all, he continued to advocate for the people he so loved.

Father Barth also added that Valdovinos funeral will be released as soon as possible and to pray for him, his family and the good people of Mecca.

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Rico Bruce


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