As Spain struggles to combat the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 188,000 cases and 19,000 deaths, the mayors of Madrid and nearby Spanish cities have expressed gratitude for the work of the Church during the crisis.

Madrid’s mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida, of the center-right People’s Party, sent a note April 12 to each priest of the Archdiocese of Madrid, expressing gratitude for “quiet and heroic labor” and for “your support for the most vulnerable, your dedication to the sick, for whom you pray every day and to whom you bring the sacraments, ensuring their spiritual consolation and that of their family members.”

María José Martínez de la Fuente, also of the People’s Party and mayor of Aranjuez, a town south of Madrid, expressed similar sentiments in an April 14 letter, the Diocese of Getafe reported.

“I want to express my appreciation and gratitude for your daily work in support of the disadvantaged,” and "for your tireless efforts to be there for the final farewell for our citizens who are dying as a result of this coronavirus pandemic," the mayor wrote.

”These days that we are living through will remain engraved in our memory, but, thank God, they will pass and we will have a new time to recover and be able to be together again. Next year we will process through Aranjuez with faith and conviction. We will experience Easter, we will experience Aranjuez,” Martínez concluded her letter.

Raquel Jimeno, a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party and mayor of the town of Ciempozuelos, south of Madrid, expressed on social media her appreciation for the work of the Church.

“The Church is fighting on the front lines together with its workers to protect our most vulnerable neighbors during the Covid-19 crisis; they are now increasing their aid with food, clothing, and water for many of the town’s families,” she wrote.

“The Church continues to work to save lives in Ciempozuelos. For both its own and for others and therefore THANK YOU, because we do appreciate it and I am sure that the vast majority of the town of Ciempozuelos does too. What they are doing is priceless. The Church, in our town, has a great role in this fight and it is necessary to thank them in capital letters,” Jimeno wrote.

The town council of Leganés, south of Madrid and led by mayor Santiago Llorente of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, posted on Twitter April 9 its appreciation for “the work the parish priests in our city of Leganés caring for the elderly, nursing home residents and patients in the Severo Ochoa Hospital. Thank you for helping the neighbors requesting it these days.”