A Catholic priest in Italy is being hailed a “Martyr of Charity” for refusing a respirator so that a younger patient could use it. The priest later succumbed to the coronavirus.
Don Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, was a priest for 47 years, serving as the Archpriest of Casnigo in the Diocese of Bergamo in Northern Italy.
Before his death, doctors placed the priest in a respirator, which was in desperately short supply in the hospital.
However, the priest decided to give it up to a younger patient who was struggling with coronavirus.
Italian publication, Araberara, described Berardelli as a man with ‘great kindness’ towards everyone.
In a statement, the mayor of Casnigo, Giuseppe Imberti said:
“He was a simple, straightforward person with 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, but he also participated in all the events without ever being intrusive.”
“[…] everyone loved him. 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, mayor of Fiorano, described Berardelli fondly as ‘a great person,’ saying:
“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.”
Berardelli already had existing health problems before he tested positive for COVID-19, according to Araberara.
Despite struggling with his health problems, he reportedly ‘fought with his usual smile and that grit.’
Commenting on Berardelli’s selfless act, a health care worker in a Casnigo retirement home told FarodiRoma:
“I am deeply moved by the fact that the archpriest of Casnigo, Don Giuseppe Berardelli — to whom the parish community had bought a respirator — renounced his will to assign it to someone younger than him.”
Our thoughts are with Don Giuseppe Berardelli and all those struggling with coronavirus.