An Italian priest who was infected with the coronavirus refused to use a respirator that was given to him and instead gave it away to help a stranger also battling the virus.
As a result, the Rev. Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, died last week.
Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli, a 72-year-old priest who gave a respirator (that his parishioners had purchased for him), to a younger patient (whom he did not know), has died from #coronavirus.
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) March 24, 2020
Berardelli had been a priest in Casnigo, a small commune near Milan. He died in a hospital in Lovere, Bergamo.
The hospital where Berardelli died reported his selfless action.
“He was a priest who listened to everyone, he knew how to listen, whoever turned to him knew that he could count on his help,” a translated obituary for him on Araberara said.
Many on Twitter honored his sacrifice.
‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’ https://t.co/JdVqqAFIS6
— Levi Roach (@DrLRoach) March 24, 2020
This was Don Giuseppe Berardelli.
Don Giuseppe was a priest who loved smiles and motorcycles. When he got infected, he let someone else use his respiratory unit. He died of #COVIDー19.
— Laura Ingallinella (@lauraingalli) March 23, 2020
This man was Giuseppe Berardelli.
He was a 72-year-old priest who contracted Coronavirus and was hospitalized.
He volunteered to give up his ventilator for a younger patient. Don Berardelli passed away soon after. pic.twitter.com/kK92T949f8
— 🇮🇹 The Calcio Analyst 🇮🇹 (@CalcioAnalyst) March 24, 2020
Clara Poli, the mayor of the nearby village of Fiorano, remembered Berardelli as a “great person,” according to the translated obituary.
“I remember him on his old Guzzi motorbike, he loved his motorbike, and when he was seen passing by he was always cheerful and full of enthusiasm, he gave peace and joy to our communities,” Poli said.
“He does not leave us alone, from up there he watches over us and continues to run through the clouds with his motorcycle, who knows how many projects he is doing up there, also for us.”
Because of restrictions in place as Italy grapples with the virus, no funeral was held for Berardelli.
Instead, residents of Casnigo reportedly stood on their balconies at noon on March 16 and applauded for him as his coffin was taken for burial.
More than 50 priests in Italy have died from the virus, according to the BBC.
Pope Francis recently led a prayer for deceased doctors and priests who had lost their lives during the outbreak, “thanking God for their heroic example in serving those who were sick.”
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