Church in mourning as four members of Christian family succumb to coronavirus

Grace Fusco, centre, surrounded by her 11 children.(Photo: Family handout)

A devout New Jersey family is in mourning after losing four members to coronavirus within the space of a week. 

Rita Fusco-Jackson died last Friday, days before her mother, 73-year-old Grace Fusco, and brother Carmine Fusco, who both succumbed to the virus on Wednesday. Another brother, Vincent Fusco Jr, died on Thursday. 

The family are devout Catholics and Rita worshipped at the Co-Cathedral of St Robert Bellarmine, in Freehold Township, New Jersey, where she was a member of the parish choir and involved in its religious education programme.

The church has asked for prayers for the Fusco-Jackson family. 

Grace's cousin, Roseann Paradiso Fodera, told that the family would need their faith to get through this tragedy. 

"It's completely devastating," she said. 

"They will need the faith they've always embraced to get them through this overwhelming shock and profound grief."

Paradiso Fodera said that of the three family members hospitalised with coronavirus, two are on life support and one is in a "stable" condition. 

The infections appear to be linked to a family dinner earlier this month, CNN reports.

Another 19 family members have been tested and are awaiting results. 

Members of St Robert Bellarmine have been paying their respects on Facebook. 

One parishioner paying tribute to Rita said she "always enjoyed her company while traveling".

"She was full of great advice and always talked about her family and was strong in her faith. I had dinner with her and her family a few years ago - what a wonderful household of people - caring and kind," she wrote. 

Another said: "Rita was a dear friend for many many years. She will truly be missed in every aspect." 

In another moving post, one parishioner wrote: "My heart is broken! Something so horrible couldn't have happened to a more wonderful family!"

At least 205 people in the US have died from coronavirus, with confirmed cases rising to 14,500 on Friday.