Italian priest dies of coronavirus after donating respirator to younger stranger

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Don Giuseppe Berardelli, a 72-year old Roman Catholic priest from Casnigo, near Bergamo, one of the “epicentres” of coronavirus in Italy, gave the ultimate example of altruism, when renouncing to a respirator which the local ecclesiastical community had bought specifically for him. Instead, he chose to donate his life-saving gadget to a sickly, younger man. Someone, who the priest didn’t even know.

A health worker based in the San Giuseppe elderly residential home, and who witnessed Don Giuseppe’s story celebrated this ultimate sacrifice: “Don Giuseppe died as a priest. I am deeply moved by the fact that he, parish priest of Casnigo, gave up his respirator on his own will to assign him to someone younger than him, to save his life”.

Don Giuseppe died in the Lovere hospital. So far, at least 30 priests lost their lives in Italy as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, 16 of which in the sole Bergamo diocese.

Promiment Jesuit Priest James Martin shared this heart-wrenching story on Twitter, calling Berardelli 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”.


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