Catholic priest serving in Ogden found dead days after COVID-19 diagnosis

Father Rene Rodillas. Photo: Diocese of Salt Lake City

OGDEN,  Utah, Jan. 9, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A Catholic priest serving in Ogden has been found dead days after testing positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Reverend Reynato “Rene” T. Rodillas, 58, is believed to have died on Friday.

The Diocese of Salt Lake City released the following statement:

On behalf of Bishop Solis and the priests of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, I am saddened to announced the sudden death of Father Reynato (Rene) T. Rodillas. He tested positive with COVID-19 virus on Tuesday, Jan. 5, and was sent home from the emergency room with oxygen to quarantine and recover at home.

Date of death has yet to be determined by the medical examiner, but was probably Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. He was 58 years old, soon to turn 59 this month.

Father Rodillas was born on Jan. 25, 1962, at Santo Domingo, Ilolos Sur, Philippines, to the late Vincente Rodillas and Capistrana Tenorio. He attended grade school and high school in Vigan City, Ilolos Sur, and college at University of Northern Philippines (1980-1986), also in Vigan City, Ilolos Sur, Philippines, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering.

In 1990, he entered the Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City, Philippines, where he studied for the priesthood. He was ordained as a Divine Word Missionary by the Most Reverend Miguel Cinchez, SVD, on Dec. 12, 2097 at Tagaytay City, Philippines, for the Society of the Divine Word.

After various assignments in the Philippines, Father Rene came to the Diocese of Salt Lake City and was given faculties for ministry on Aug. 7, 2007. He served as a Parochial Vicar at Saint Peter and Paul Parish, West Valley City (2007-2009), Saint George Parish, St. George (2009-2010), and Saint Paul Therese of the Child Jesus,Midvale (2010-2011). He became administrator of Saint Olaf Parish, Bountiful, where he served from Aug. 2, 2011 until he was formally exclaustrated from the Divine Word Missionaries (SVC) and thereby became pastor when he was Incardinated into the Diocese of Salt Lake City on Feb. 2, 2018.

On Aug. 1, 2019, he was appointed Pastor of Saint James the Just, Ogden, where he served until his untimely death. He has most recently served as the Spiritual Advisor for the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women.

Rodillas is survived by his mother and siblings. Funeral arrangements are pending.


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