An Italian priest has died of coronavirus after giving up his respirator to a younger patient, according to reports.
Reverend Giuseppe Beradelli, 72, was given a respirator by his parishioners but gave it up after another patient – who was a complete stranger – also needed one, according to the BBC.
The broadcaster cited hospital officials, stating that the main priest in the town of Casnigo, just 40 miles northeast of Milan, died last week in Lovere Hospital – which has been one of the worst-hit areas in the country.
This month, at least 60 priests in Italy have died from coronavirus as the country marks the European epicentre of the deadly pandemic.
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
New York Jesuit priest James Martin referenced a biblical phrase in his mourning over Twitter: He is a ‘Martyr of Charity.
“Greater love has no person …”
Martin, who is an author who edits the Jesuit journal America, said that Beradelli was a “saint like St. Maximilian Kolbe, who in Auschwitz volunteered to take the place of a condemned man with a family, and was killed.”
He wrote: “Don Giuseppe Berardelli, patron of those who suffer from coronavirus and all who care for them, pray for us!”
Many responded by saying that the priest was a “true saint”.
An obituary on Araberara, an Italian news website, which was written by a healthcare worker stated: “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.”
The mayor of Fiorano, Clara Poli, described the priest as a “great person”.
She told the news publication: “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.”
No funeral has been held for Friar Beradelli as the town has been one of the worst-hit areas. Instead, locals took to their balconies at noon on 16 March and gave a round of applause.
No details have been shared as to who was the patient who received the respirator at Beradelli’s request.