Msgr. J. Robert Yeazel is pictured in this Sun file photo.


By Katherine Long | Editor

Msgr. J. Robert Yeazel, retired pastor of Holy Cross Church in DeWitt and a priest of the Diocese of Syracuse for more than 50 years, has tested positive for the coronavirus and has been undergoing treatment for over a month, the diocese said today.

In an email sent to clergy, colleagues, and friends on behalf of the Yeazel family, Chancellor and Director of Communications Danielle Cummings confirmed Msgr. Yeazel’s diagnosis and called for donations of plasma by those who have recovered from the virus.

“Many of you may know that Msgr. Yeazel has tested positive for the coronavirus and has been undergoing treatment for over a month,” Cummings wrote. “He has been the recipient of plasma from the generous donations of blood from those who have recovered from the virus. The hope is that the antibodies from the plasma will fight off the virus. The Yeazel family would like our help to spread the word that more plasma is needed for all those battling the virus.”

Cummings directed recipients of the email to the Red Cross, which is “seeking people who are fully recovered from the new coronavirus to sign up to donate plasma to help current COVID-19 patients,” according to its website. “People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. This convalescent plasma is being evaluated as treatment for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those judged by a healthcare provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease.”

No additional information about Msgr. Yeazel’s condition was provided in the email.

Msgr. Yeazel retired in 2017 after 50 years of ministry. A native of St. Daniel Parish in Syracuse, he was ordained in May 1967 and assigned as an associate to St. Patrick Church in Binghamton. Over the next half-century, his ministry included service as an associate at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, vice chancellor and secretary to Bishop David Cunningham, chancellor of the diocese, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville, regional vicar of the Western Region of the diocese, Vicar for Priests and co-chaplain for St. Anthony Motherhouse and the Dominican Monastery in Syracuse, and pastor of Holy Cross Church. He served on numerous community and diocesan boards and committees, including as chair of the campaign to restore the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Recently, Msgr. Yeazel had been working with Le Moyne College’s Center for Aging Resources and Enrichment to coordinate its “Spirituality in Aging” series, presented at Loretto’s Nottingham residence in Jamesville.

Cummings’ email asked for prayers for Msgr. Yeazel and all those battling the coronavirus: “May we join together to pray for their healing and pray for all those in the medical profession who are doing all they can to return their patients to good health.”

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