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Fr. Youssef Sami Youssef. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: An assistant parish priest at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Sharjah died on Sunday evening “due to multiple complications arising from COVID-19”, the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia (AVOSA) posted on its website.

Fr. Youssef Sami Youssef OFM Cap., 62, served for the Arabic and French speaking Catholics in Sharjah. He was under treatment for almost three weeks at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Ajman and received expert care, ventilation and stem cell therapy, according to AVOSA.

“However, since he already had some underlying medical conditions, he soon started to develop critical multiple organ failures,” added the vicariate, which is a territorial jurisdiction of the Catholic Church covering the UAE, Oman and Yemen.

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r. Youssef was a Catholic missionary who served in various Gulf states since 1993. Image Credit: Supplied

AVOSA said Fr. Youssef’s “outgoing and lively personality will be sorely missed by all who knew him, and especially by all the Arabic and French speaking Catholics in the vicariate.”

St. Michael’s Church official Facebook page was flooded with over 1,000 comments of condolences and prayers hours after Fr. Youssef’s death.

Filipino expat Palmenco Maria Emelinda posted: “Fr. Youssef, thank you for the good advice (you gave me) when I came to you at St Michael’s Church.

Louis Alva added: “Sad news as we have lost a very good priest. Heartfelt condolences to his loved ones. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

Shanti D’souza added: “Rest in peace, Father. Thank you for all the good work you did.”

Another parishioner, Martha Dsouza, posted: “Eternal rest, Lord, grant unto Fr Youssef. May his soul rest in eternal peace. We will miss you, Fr Youssef, and you will be fondly remembered always.”

Josephine D’cruz, added: “Rest in peace Fr. Yousef. We will always remember your smiling face.”

Itinerant priest

According to AVOSA, Fr. Youssef was a Catholic missionary who served in various Gulf states since 1993. He served the Arabic and French speaking communities at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Dubai from 1993-1995; Our Lady of the Rosary Church Doha (2004-2008); Sacred Heart Church, Manama (2008-2011); St. Joseph’s Cathedral Abu Dhabi (2011-2015); Holy Spirit Church, Ghala and St. Mary’s Church Al Ain before he was stationed at St. Michael’s Church Sharjah in 2016.

Fr. Youssef was born on November 18, 1957 in Deir Dourit, Mont Liban in the Maronite Diocese of Sidon in Lebanon. He joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap.) of the General Custody of the Near East and made his profession of vows on October 4, 1977.

After completing his Philosophy and Theology at the Pontifical Holy Spirit University Kaslik Jounieh, Lebanon, Fr. Youssef was ordained to the priesthood on July 2, 1988.

Fr. Youssef has held several senior roles in the Capuchin Custody of the Near East, including as Vice Provincial from 2001-2004. He was also a member of both the Bishop’s Council (2011-2020) and the Council of the Capuchin Custody of Arabia.

A requiem Mass will be offered for Fr. Youssef on Tuesday (May 19) at 7pm.