Greater love: 72 year old priest gives up his respirator to a younger person and dies

UPDATE – he was a kind man, had ventilator but could not use it

He was best known for his smile and his red Moto Guzzi Galletto motorbike but Giuseppe Berardelli – Archpriest of San Giovanni Battista, in Casnigo, Italy – will be remembered for giving up his respirator so that someone younger could live.

The 72-year-old priest’s parish bought him a respirator after he became ill with coronavirus. But he gave it up, according to a local news outlet  Araberara.

UPDATE The authoritative Cruxnow website has reported that Berardelli  had a ventilator but could not use it. “A longtime friend of Father Giuseppe Berardelli, who died in northern Italy from the COVID-19 coronavirus earlier this month, has described the priest as a caring and involved pastor, while also debunking what he says is “fake news” about the priest’s death.

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.”

“He was a priest who listened to everyone; he knew how to listen, [and] whoever turned to him knew that he could count on his help,” said Clara Poli, mayor of Fiorano, where Berardelli had served as a parish priest.

“He loved his motorbike, and when you saw him go by he was always cheerful,” Poli added (translated by The Hill).

In recent weeks, Berardelli’s condition had become serious. He died at the Lovere hospital, a Bergamo newspaper reports. He died sometime on Sunday, March 15.

Lovere is a small town on Lake Iseo, north-east of Milan, in the province of Lombardy – the centre of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak. About 50 priest have died in Italy of the coronavirus, according to the BBC.

As this story about Berardelli surfaces and starts to go viral, two verses come to mind:

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

” Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7–8)


Some prayer points to help

Give thanks for Giuseppe Berardelli, and pray for all with coronavirus.