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Ugandan Catholic priest dies in car crash

DECEASED: Fr. Alfred Onyutha, 61, was a parochial vicar at Saint Padre Pio Parish in Vineland.

A Ugandan Catholic priest from Nebbi, Fr Alfred Onyutha is dead following a head-on crash that happened in Franklin Township, New Jersey -in the United States of America on Friday night.

Fr. Onyutha, 61, who served at several South Jersey parishes since 2005, lost his life in a two-vehicle accident on Tuckahoe Road, the Diocese of Camden said Saturday

Onyutha, 61, was a parochial vicar at Saint Padre Pio Parish in Vineland.

Police identified the other victim only as a 44-year-old resident of the Williamstown section.

According to police, the accident occurred around 9:50 pm when Fr. Onyutha’s vehicle left its lane and struck an oncoming car on Tuckahoe Road at Sheridan Avenue.

According to the Daily Journal, the priest was pronounced dead at the scene. The other driver was flown to the trauma unit at Cooper University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

It was not immediately clear why Fr. Onyutha’s vehicle left its lane according to the Daily Journal.

The Catholic Herald, a Catholic news agency also quoted Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan of Diocese of Camden announcing the death of the priest.

‘With great sadness, the Diocese of Camden announces the death of Father Alfred Onyutha, a priest of the Diocese of Nebbi in Uganda, who has served in the Diocese of Camden since 2005.

Father Onyutha was most recently assigned as a parochial vicar at Saint Padre Pio Parish in Vineland’

Bishop Dennis on behalf of the faithful in South Jersey expressed condolences to the family of Father Onyutha and to the family of the other driver who was killed.

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He asked the faithful to join him in prayer for the deceased and all who love them.

“This is a terrible and tragic loss for two families and for parishioners in two dioceses. We take comfort in our faith in the resurrection and ask the Lord to bestow his grace and mercy on the deceased and their loved ones.”

Fr Onyutha was born on August 14, 1959. Onyutha was ordained at the diocese in 1990, by the late Bishop Fredrick Drandrua of Arua Diocese who also served at St. Joseph Parish in Somers Point and Infant Jesus Parish in Woodbury Heights, the diocese said.

He served as well at Holy Angels Parish and Underwood Memorial Hospital in Woodbury, and Holy Family Parish in Sewell.

‘This is a terrible and tragic loss for two families and for parishioners in two dioceses,’ Bishop Dennis Sullivan said in the statement.

Before coming to South Jersey, Onyutha who hails from Nyapea parish, in Zombo district served for 15 years in the Diocese of Nebbi.

In a telephone conversation on Sunday, Fr Isaiah Bicanduwun, the chancellor of Nebbi catholic Diocese said the remains of the priest would be repatriated for interment in the diocese.

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”It’s really a sad moment for us, we have lost Fr. Alfred who was doing his pastoral work in the USA, arrangements are being made to repatriate the body.’ he said.

Earlier on Saturday, Fr Alexander Inke another priest from Nebbi working in the USA posted on his Facebook that: “Lord gives and take back to him (sad news) Dear brother and sister, it’s with a heavy heart that I would like to inform you of the untimely death of Fr. Alfred Onyutha (Pepe) which occurred last night in a motor accident, Friday, July 16, 2021 in New Jersey (USA). Fr. Alfred is a priest from the Nebbi Catholic diocese, Uganda. Kindly let us keep each other in prayer.

May the soul of Fr. Alfred Onyutha rest in eternal peace.

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