Italian Priest With Coronavirus Dies After Sacrificing Ventilator To Save Stranger

72-year-old Don Giuseppe Berardelli, an archpriest at the parish of San Giovanni Battista in the village of Casnigo, d-ied the night of Sunday March 15 after being hospitalised for health problems that had worsened in recent days.

The parish had purchased a respirator just for Don Giuseppe, who had become infected by coronavirus, however he chose to give it up so that it might help a younger person to survive instead.

As reported by Italian publication Araberara, Don Giuseppe was known for his activism, his smile and his ‘great kindness and helpfulness towards everyone’.

In a statement, mayor of Casnigo, Giuseppe Imberti said:

He was a simple, straightforward person, with a great kindness and helpfulness towards everyone, believers and non-believers. His greeting was ‘peace and good’.

Always friendly and available to the public administration, associations and not only those of the parish, he participated in all the events without ever being intrusive.

He was loved by everyone, his former parishioners still came from Fiorano after years to find him. But he also had an incredible ability to solve economic problems, to knock on the right doors for help.

Clara Poli, who had been mayor of Fiorano for some years, recalled her memories of the beloved priest, describing him fondly as ‘a great person’:

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.

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.

Born in Fonteno on August 21, 1947, Don Giuseppe was ordained on June 30, 1973. He was appointed archpriest of Casnigo in 2006. Despite having suffered health problems, he reportedly ‘fought with his usual smile and that grit’.

Although there will be no funeral, the people of Caserta reportedly showed their respects by looking out onto their balconies and greeting Don Giuseppe with applause.

At least 30 priests have lost in Italy due to coronavirus, with at least 16 having been from the diocese of Bergamo.

Our thoughts are with all those who knew Don Giuseppe Berardelli at this difficult time.

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