An Italian priest died of coronavirus after giving a respirator that his parishioners bought for him to a younger patient, it has been revealed.
Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, from Casigno in Italy’s hardest-hit Lombardy region, died in a local hospital in recent days after being diagnosed with the virus.
Berardelli had been given a respirator – which are desperately in short supply – by parishioners concerned about his health but decided to give it to a younger patient who he didn’t know but was struggling to breathe because of the virus.
The exact age and condition of that patient is not known, but younger patients who are able to access respirators have a much greater chance of survival.
The extraordinary case was revealed by Jesuit priest James Martin, from the US, who is also a consultant to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications.
Italian news magazine Araberara first reported the story.
Berardelli – a well-liked priest who had underlying health conditions – was remembered for his charity and his love of motorcycles.
Praising him on Twitter, Martin 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!’
Berardelli is among at least 60 priests in Italy who have died from coronavirus after the Pope called on them to ‘have courage’ to attend the sick.
Some 5,476 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus across the nation, with more than 59,000 cases of the virus confirmed.
Among the dead are at least 60 priests, the majority of whom were over the age of 70, the Catholic Herald reported.