On March 15th, Father Giuseppe Berardelli passed away at age 72 from COVID-19 in the town of Lovere, just outside of Italy’s hardest-hit city of Bergamo. Berardelli had been serving as the archpriest for Casnigo, a town northeast of Bergamo.
Before contracting coronavirus, Father Berardelli had been suffering from a respiratory condition for sometime, so his parish previously purchased a ventilator to help him cope. When parishioners brought the ventilator to his hospital, he declined to use it and let a younger patient fighting for their life use it instead.
As with most victims of the pandemic in Italy, there was no in-person funeral held. However, the quarantined people of the city of Caserta applauded him from their balconies at noon on March 16th.
When news of his sacrifice spread, those who knew Berardelli sang his praises. Mayor of Casnigo Giuseppe Imbert said “he was a simple, straightforward person, with a great kindness and helpfulness towards everyone, believers and non-believers.”
Mayor of Fiorano Clara Poli, where Berardelli previously had been a parish priest, said he was a “great person” fond of his motocycle.
“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.”
Father James Martin took to Twitter as well to praise Berardelli for his actions.
Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli, a 72-year-old priest who gave a respirator (that his parishioners had purchased for him), to a younger patient (whom he did not know), has died from #coronavirus.
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) March 24, 2020
Berardelli was one of nearly 7,000 Italians and nearly 70 priests who have died from COVID-19.
“Don Giuseppe Berardelli, patron of those who suffer from coronavirus and all who care for them, pray for us!”