For good or bad, it's his raison d'etre," said Monsignor Giulio Dellavite, secretary-general of the diocese of Bergamo, which is currently the hardest hit area in Italy's north. Over 7, people have been infected by COVID in the city and province of Bergamo, and priests have not been spared.
Of the 67 Italian priests who have died of the virus, more than 20 have come from Bergamo, including a bishop, according to the Catholic newspaper Avvenire. However, the grim toll does not deter many. Giuseppe Locatelli, the priest of the parish in Albino, also in the province of Bergamo, says he has no plans to renounce his ministry.
Doctors and nurses are on the front line with the risks they take every day. We take fewer risks," Locatelli told AFP. He recently blessed a man on his death bed, he said, "because it was a special circumstance," with only the ailing man's wife and handicapped son at home.
Like doctors and nurses, priests need to protect themselves, Dellavite said. One of them was Giuseppe Berardelli, a priest from Casnigo, near Bergamo, who died in hospital this month at the age of And when he got infected, he didn't stop right away," said Gianbattista Guarini, a local merchant in Casnigo.
The youngest priest known to have died from the virus is Alessandro Brignone, from the diocese of Salerno, south of Naples. He was
Flags flew at half-staff around the country and public authorities observed a minute of silence. Draghi laid a wreath at Bergamo's cemetery and inaugurated a forest named in honor of the more thanvictims in Italy, the first country in the West to be hit by the outbreak. The anniversary came as much of Italy including Bergamo is under new lockdown, with schools, shops and restaurants shuttered, amid a new surge of infections blamed on variants. It joined the photo of an exhausted Cremona nurse collapsed on her computer keyboard after a shift, and more recently, an image of a dejected Rome-area bistro owner sitting hunched over in her restaurant kitchen after the latest lockdown was imposed. Story continues For Bergamo, though, the army convoy was early evidence of the outsized toll the first weeks of the outbreak had on what would become the hardest-hit province in the hardest-hit region of Lombardy: By March 18,Italy had recorded 2, deaths — nearly 2, of them in Lombardy.