A 72-year-old Italian Priest, Father Giuseppe Berardelli has died of the COVID-19 pandemic after selflessly giving his own respirator to a younger patient he did not know.
Berardelli, till his death last week, was the main priest in Casnigo, a Municipality in the Province of Bergamo, which is now the epicentre of the worst Covid-19 outbreak in the world.
According to reports, his parishioners reportedly bought him the respirator – which is in desperately short supply – after learning that he suffered with pre-existing health issues.
But the priest gave up the device after hearing of a younger patient who was struggling to breathe because of COVID-19, which has now killed more than 7, 000 people in Italy.
Residents of Casnigo applauded from their windows and balconies as his coffin was been taken for burial after his death at Lovere hospital, according to local media.
The age and condition of the patient who received the respirator remained unknown.
However, tributes and accolades are currently being shown to the late priest on social media.
Jesuit Priest, James Martin, from the US, who is also a consult to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, led the tributes to Berardelli online, he wrote, “Greater love has no person (John 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 COVID-19 and all who care for them, pray for us.”
Some 60 priests are said to have died from COVID-19 in Italy after the Pope called on them to “have courage” to help the sick.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Italy rose to 70,016 from 59,138 on Monday, but the rate of people dying appeared to have slowed slightly.
The World Health Organisation said on Tuesday that “85 per cent of COVID-19 cases reported over the past 24 hours have been in Europe and the United States.”