Italian priest, 72, dies after giving up respirator to a younger patient suffering from coronavirus
Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, is one among sixty priests who have died from the virus in Italy, the world's worst-hit nation by coronavirus outbreak
An Italian priest died after giving up his respirator to a younger patient suffering from coronavirus. 72-year-old Giuseppe Berardelli, who hailed from Casigno in Italy's Lombardy region, died because of the deadly virus, but he saved the life of the younger patient whom he did not even know.
According to Italian news magazine Araberara, Berardelli was diagnosed with the virus and had been given a respirator — which is in desperately short supply — by parishioners concerned about his health. However, when he saw the younger patient, who was struggling to breathe because of the virus, he decided to give the respirator to him. The exact age and condition of the younger patient are not known, but it has been said that younger patients who can access respirators have a much greater chance of survival.
The 72-year-old’s death was confirmed by Jesuit priest James Martin, from the US, who is also a consultant to the Vatican's Secretariat for Communications. Remembering Berardelli for his charity, Martin tweeted: “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.
Praising his deed, Martin further wrote: "Greater love has no person..." (Jn 15:13)
"He is a 'Martyr of Charity,' a saint-like St. Maximilian Kolbe, who in Auschwitz volunteered to take the place of a condemned man with a family, and was killed. Don Giuseppe Berardelli, patron of those who suffer from coronavirus and all who care for them, pray for us!”
People of Casnigo have reportedly applauded from their windows and balconies as the coffin of Berardelli was taken for burial. However, there was no funeral fearing the spread of infection.
Pope Francis also led a prayer for the deceased doctors and priests and said, "Thanking God for their heroic example in serving those who were sick."
Berardelli is one among at least sixty priests who have died from coronavirus in Italy after Pope Francis called on them to "have courage" to attend the sick. During a mass in March, the 83-year-old has asked the priests to attend to people suffering due to the rapidly growing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We pray to God also for our priests, so they have the courage to go out to the sick, bringing the strength of the Word of God and the Eucharist. To accompany the medical workers and volunteers in the work they are doing,” the Pope said.
According to WHO, COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease caused by it, COVID-19, has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020, by the agency responsible for international public health.
Italy is the world's worst-hit nation by coronavirus outbreak that has taken more than six thousand lives in Italy and over 16,700 worldwide. The pandemic has affected over 380,000 people across the world.