Since losing his ventilator to save a stranger a brave priest from the Bergamo region of Italy has died.
Don Giuseppe Berardelli, a 72-year-old archpriest in the parish of San Giovanni Battista in the village of Casnigo, died on the night of Sunday 15 March after being hospitalized for health conditions that have deteriorated in the last few days.
The parish had bought a respirator for Don Giuseppe alone, who had been infected with coronavirus but decided to give it up so that instead it could help a younger person survive.
As mentioned by Araberara, an Italian publication, Don Giuseppe was known for his advocacy, his smile, and his’ great kindness and helpfulness to all.’
Casnigo mayor Giuseppe Imberti said, in a statement:
He was a simple, straightforward person, with great kindness and helpfulness towards all, faithful and unbelievers. His salutation was “peace and goodness.”
Often polite and at the service of the public administration, associations and not just those of the church, without ever being intrusive, he participated in any case.
Everybody loved him; after years, his former parishioners were always coming from Fiorano to find him. Yet he had always an amazing capacity to fix economic issues, to knock for help at the right gate.
Clara Poli, who had been Fiorano’s mayor for several years, recounted her memories of the beloved priest, lovingly describing him as “a wonderful person”:
I remember him on his old Guzzi motorcycle, he loved his motorcycle, and when he was seen driving by he was always smiling and full of excitement, he brought our communities peace and joy.
He doesn’t leave us alone, he looks over us from up there and proceeds to ride his motorcycle through the clouds, who knows how many things he’s doing up there for us, too.
Don Giuseppe, born in Fonteno on 21 August 1947, was ordained on 30 June 1973. In 2006, he was made archpriest of Casnigo. He reportedly’ fought with his normal smile and the determination’ despite having endured health problems.
While there will be no funeral, the Caserta people have reportedly shown respect by looking out into their balconies and applauding Don Giuseppe.
At least 30 priests have died as a result of coronavirus in Italy, with at least 16 being from the Bergamo diocese.