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Pastor at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church is Dead, Succumbs to Coronavirus

Father Antonio Checo, Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, 33-50 82nd St, Jackson Heights (Saint Mark’s Church Twitter, Google Maps)

April 4, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

A renowned Jackson Heights pastor died Wednesday from coronavirus.

Father Antonio Checo, 65, pastor of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, died Wednesday at Mount Sinai Hospital, from complications relating to COVID-19.

“Antonio was a dedicated and hardworking vicar, enthusiastic and lover of the people of his parish and the communities of Jackson Heights and Astoria and the neighborhoods around,” said Reverend Lawrence Provenzano, Bishop of Long Island.

“His transparent love for Jesus and the people he was called to serve was contagious to all of us,” he said.

“When Antonio said he was praying for you, you knew well he prayed for you all the time.”

Checo was of Dominican origin and came to New York in 1982. He was installed as the Rector of Saint Mark’s Church in October 2017 and the church said that the parish would get through his passing collectively.

We will come out of this together and pray that when we come out on the other side of this crisis we can meet to remember adequately the life of our dear Czech Father,” the church wrote on their Twitter page Friday.

Checo served as chairman of the Hispanic Commission of the Diocese of Long Island and was a member of the Board of the Mercer School of Theology. He was also very active in Cursillo – an apostolic movement of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 2017 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – Corona-East Elmhurst branch – presented its Clergy Award to Checo, in recognition of “his faithful service to the Church and outstanding dedication to the community.”

Several Queens leaders expressed their remorse at the pastor’s passing.

Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz said that COVID-19 had “taken another pillar in our community.”

“Thank you for Father Checo for your love. Thank you for urging me to serve with compassion, understanding and taking care of the needy,” she said.

State Senator Jessica Ramos said that Checo was devoted to uplifting his parish and those in need.

“Antonio Checo was a tireless servant of God,” she tweeted.

“His memory & legacy will live on in our community,” she said.

Council Member Danny Dromm also acknowledged the death of Checo on Twitter.

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Gardens Watcher

May Father Checo rest in peace. Didn’t know him, but obviously he will be missed by many in the community.

Men are dying at a much higher rate than women. As of the morning of April 5 in NYC, it’s 837 females versus 1417 males. Why is that? Some data indicates that may be due to biological differences between men and women in their bodies’ response to infection.

But maybe it’s also due to simple things, like not following the rules of basic hygiene, and not following the Covid-19 guidelines. Guys, wash your hands frequently (especially after using the bathroom), and follow the rules to stop the virus.

Lots of guys still not covering their face. What’s up with that?

Adiel Gonzalez

This news breaks my heart as I met Father Checo in a different capacity as he was my mentor many years ago in graduate school. He attended my graduation and was a good person. RIP you achieved your goals in the earth now you are in heaven. You’ll be missed Tony as I called him.


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