A total of 96 priests have died in Italy in coronavirus after having comforted patients and their relatives who were admitted to hospitals and nursing homes distributed throughout the country, sources from the Italian Epsicopal Conference have confirmed to Europa Press.
Giachino Basile was the first priest to die after being infected by the virus. He was 60 years old and since 1988 he lived in the United States. Later, he was followed by Don Corrado Forest, 80, from the Veneto region who, according to local media, pointed out before dying: “It is not wrong for a priest to get this disease in order to share the pain and everything they live with this virus so many other people. “
The image of the 95-year-old priest Cirillo Longo, while holding tightly to a rosary to inspire encouragement among the health personnel who attended him, moved the Italians. According to local media, he said when he was in the hospital: “Don’t be afraid, because we are all in God’s hands. See you there.” Many of these priests have been considered heroes, such as the parish priest Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, very loved by his parishioners from Casnigo (Bergamo), whom he always greeted with the same phrase: ‘Peace and good’.
Many of the patients hospitalized by Covid-19 have not been able to receive the comfort of their relatives due to the strict distancing measures that health centers have imposed to prevent the spread of the contagion. Father Aquilino Apassiti, 84, who was a missionary in the jungles of Brazil for 25 years, has worked to comfort the relatives of the victims of the coronavirus in the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo, one of the cities most affected by the pandemic in Italy.
Speaking to the Italian newspaper La Stampa, he stated: “They die alone; the relatives of the deceased call me, I put the mobile phone close to their loved ones and we pray together. Most of the time I spend it in the chapel praying. Often , in the afternoon a cardiologist comes and we pray. “