BOLIVIA, Alexandra Kempff •
Father Milton Sulzbacher lost his battle against covid-19 on February 1st. He was one of several priests who literally gave his life in this pandemic because he never stopped attending to the needs of our people. Father Milton was very dear to the Schoenstatt Family of Santa Cruz. —
Father Milton was a priest of the Missionaries of the Holy Family; he was born in Santa Catarina, Brazil, in 1975 and arrived in Santa Cruz in 2017 a few weeks after being ordained as a priest. As soon as he arrived, he helped us with the celebration of the Holy Mass. He was one of those people who make you feel like family immediately, the welcoming was natural in him; so we adopted him and he adopted us as a family from the very first encounter.
A very precious place for Father Milton
We were all very saddened by his sudden departure and the leadership of the family decided to celebrate a Mass in his honor at the Schoenstatt Wayside Shrine. It had been several months since we had suspended the celebrations for biosecurity reasons, but we felt the need to say goodbye to Father Milton in the place he loved so much. We know that he enjoyed going to the Wayside Shrine because he had several “selfies” with the Blessed Mother and because he never missed a chance to tell us how much he loved us.
Father Loacir, also a priest of the Holy Family Community, was the one who celebrated the farewell Mass. He himself told us that he did not want it to be a Mass “for” Father Milton, but he wanted it to be “with” Father Milton. So he carried his ashes, we remembered him and celebrated the blessing of having had him with us. Father Loacir gave us a joy-filled farewell in the hope of an everlasting life.
We really need to remember all of our hero priests of the pandemic. Several priests have died and others are on the brink. They usually have no money for their treatments and never stopped caring for the people and going out to the neighborhoods to visit.
Photos: Luico Egüez
Original: Spanish 2021-02-11. Translation: María Aragón, Monterrey, México.