The deadly coronavirus has claimed the lives of 60 catholic priests in Italy which has been described as one of the world’s worst-hit nation.
According to news reports, the latest to have died is Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, from Casigno in Italy’s hardest-hit Lombardy region who died in a local hospital in recent days after being diagnosed with the virus.
The Italian priest died of coronavirus after giving a respirator that his parishioners bought for him to a younger patient, it has been revealed.
Berardelli had been given a respirator – which is in desperately 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 are 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.
Pope Francis has, however, urged priests to ‘have the courage and visit the sick’ despite risks.