I’m sure I’m not the only one who read this and was reminded of St. Maximilian Kolbe.
An Italian priest has died of the coronavirus after giving his respirator to a younger patient also suffering from the virus.
Fr Giuseppe Beradelli, parish priest of San Giovanni Battista since 2006, died in the early hours of Monday 16 March, in the hospital of Lovere, Bergamo.
Aged 72, he had been hospitalised for several days due to a coronavirus infection, and his parish community had bought him a respirator to aid his fight against the infection. According to hospital sources, reported by Italian media, Fr Beradelli had voluntarily given up his respirator so a younger patient without one could use the device. Fr Beradelli, who did not know the younger patient, died shortly afterwards.
Born on August 21, 1947, and ordained priest on June 30, 1973, Fr Beradelli was well known among his parishioners for his good humour, his love of motorbiking, and his devotion to the Virgin Mary. Due to the risk of infection, no funeral has yet been held for Fr Beradelli; his passing was marked instead by residents of the medieval town giving a round of applause from their balconies at noon on March 16.
Multiple local dignitaries, including Bergamo’s Mayor, have paid tribute to Fr. Beradelli, praising his cheerful attitude and dedication to local causes.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…
UPDATE: Crux has more, suggesting some of the details surrounding his death may not be accurate:
Over the last 24 hours, Italian media have featured stories prominently about Berardelli, 72, claiming that he “donated” a ventilator being used to treat his COVID-19, allegedly declining to accept it so that it could be used to treat someone younger.
In reality, said Giuseppe Foresti, sacristan of Berardelli’s parish of St. John the Baptist in Casnigo, about 15 miles from Bergamo in northern Italy, the elderly priest simply couldn’t tolerate the ventilator, in part because of preexisting health conditions, and refused to use it.
Foresti emphasized that doesn’t make Foresti any less of a role model.
“I can tell you that certainly Don Giuseppe was a special person, he really gave himself to the entire community,” Foresti told Crux March 24.
…After Berardelli died, rumors began to that he refused to accept a ventilator that his parish community bought for him, insisting that it be given to someone younger. The story was attributed to a healthcare worker at the San Giuseppe rest house in Casnigo.
According to Foresti, “the story about the respirator isn’t true.” While Berardelli was an outstanding person and pastor, the story is “half-fake news.”
“The problem is that when he got to the hospital, they tried to put the respirator on him, but he refused (to take it) because he couldn’t handle it,” he said, noting that Berardelli was already in bad shape when he arrived.