CORRECTION: Priest Who Died Of Coronavirus Was Man Of Self-Sacrifice, But Reports Of Ventilator Donation Are Untrue
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the fact that reports of Don Giuseppe Berardelli donating a respirator to another patient with coronavirus are not true. A number of outlets reported Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli gave up a respirator to younger patient. Today, March 25, the secretary general of the diocese, Fr. Giulio Dellavite, told the Catholic News Agency (CNA) these reports were not true. He said: ‘There was not a donated respirator. There have not been any respirators coming from outside of the hospital.’ Fr. Dellavite, a friend of Fr. Berardelli for over 20 years, said he believes that Fr. Berardelli would have given up a potential spot in the intensive care unit up for another younger patient, if he could have, before adding: ‘But we do not have certainty.’
A heroic priest from the Bergamo area of Italy, known for his kindness and self-sacrifice, has died.
72-year-old Don Giuseppe Berardelli, an archpriest at the parish of San Giovanni Battista in the village of Casnigo, died the night of Sunday, March 15, after being hospitalised for health problems that had worsened in recent days.
Fr. Giulio Dellavite, the general secretary of Berardelli’s diocese and a close friend of his for more than 20 years, believes Fr. Berardelli would have given up a spot in the intensive care unit for a younger patient if he could have.
As reported by Italian publication Araberara, Don Giuseppe was known for his activism, his smile and his ‘great kindness and helpfulness towards everyone’.
In a statement, mayor of Casnigo, Giuseppe Imberti said:
He was a simple, straightforward person, with a great kindness and helpfulness towards everyone, believers and non-believers. His greeting was ‘peace and good’.
Always friendly and available to the public administration, associations and not only those of the parish, he participated in all the events without ever being intrusive.
[…] He was loved by everyone, his former parishioners still came from Fiorano after years to find him. But he also had an incredible ability to solve economic problems, to knock on the right doors for help.
Clara Poli, who had been mayor of Fiorano for some years, recalled her memories of the beloved priest, describing him fondly as ‘a great person’:
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.
Benedetta Franchina, an employee at the San Giuseppe Rest Home, told CNA Fr. Berardelli was: ‘A person full of faith and always a person who transmitted joy, positivity, and was always happy, always ready to give a word of comfort. He always gave of himself to his parishioners and to all of the people that had a need or a want.’
Born in Fonteno on August 21, 1947, Don Giuseppe was ordained on June 30, 1973. He was appointed archpriest of Casnigo in 2006. Despite having suffered health problems, he reportedly ‘fought with his usual smile and that grit’.
Although there will be no funeral, the people of Caserta reportedly showed their respects by looking out onto their balconies and greeting Don Giuseppe with applause.
At least 30 priests have died in Italy due to coronavirus, with at least 16 having been from the diocese of Bergamo.
Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Fr. Don Giuseppe Berardelli at this difficult time.
It’s okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our coronavirus campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization on coronavirus, click here.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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