Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

Image of Bl. Giuseppe

Facts

Feastday: October 21

Birth: 1937

Death: 1993

Beatified By: 25 May 2013, Foro Italico 'Umberto I', Palermo, Sicily by Salvatore De Giorgi (On behalf of Pope Francis)


Blessed Fr. Don Giuseppe "Pino" Puglisi was beatified on May 25, a mere 20 years after his martyrdom at the hands of the Sicilian Mafia. His beatification represents a new era of defiance of powerful organized crime families in Italy and around the world.

Don Giuseppe "Pino" Puglisi was born on September 15, 1937 in the Palermo neighborhood of Brancaccio, in Palermo, Sicily. His father was a cobbler and his mother made dresses. From this working class home, Puglisi learned the roughness of his crime-ridden neighborhood and refused to participate in the petty criminal activity on the streets.

He joined the seminary at the youthful age of 16, with an aim to become a priest and fight back against rampant crime and corruption.

In 1960, at the age of 23, Puglisi was ordained a priest and sent to work in various parishes. His archbishop, Cardinal Ernesto Ruffini had a passive attitude towards the Mafia, even claiming at one time that they were fictional, and that nobody knew what the Mafia really was. "So far as I know, it could be a brand of detergent," he once denied.

Cardinal Ruffini argued that communism was the greater threat to the people and that the Mafia was simply part of the fabric of local society.

However, Fr. Puglisi was well aware of the Mafia influence in his parish and suggested that Cardinal Ruffini needed to be corrected, albeit he added we "should always criticize it [the Church] like a mother, never a mother in law."

In the years following, he served in various parishes, criticizing the criminal culture and calling on children to attend school and refrain from vice.

Fr. Puglisi was especially renown for his humor as well as his tough stance against the Mafia. He refused money from the organization and denied awarding a contract to repair his church roof to an organization the Mafia "recommended."

In 1990, he had returned to his native Brancaccio and became priest at San Gaetanoís Parish. He continued to speak boldly against the Mafia. He asked the authorities to move against known Mafia members and publicly denounced their activities.

He refused to permit known Mafia gangsters from marching at the head of religious processions, a Mafia tradition, and was the first known priest to confront men attempting to do so.

Unable to control him with money or intimidation, Fr, Puglisi became a target for the organization.

On September 15, 1993, two hitmen approached him in front of his parish. Fr. Puglisi spoke his last words, greeting the men saying, "Iíve been expecting you." One of the men then fired a single bullet at point-blank range, rendering him unconscious.

The bold priest was rushed to the hospital where doctors could not revive him. He died on his birthday.

Following his death, there was a loud public outcry for justice. Anti-Mafia graffiti was painted across the region with his signature quote, "And what if somebody did something?"

The hitmen and their associates who were sent to kill Puglisi were eventually arrested and the gunman, Gaspare Spatuzza, confessed to the killing. He, along with three other men were given life sentences in 1998 for murdering the priest.

Church leaders, now emboldened by the anger of the people and the arrest of Puglisiís murderers, began to join the outcry and the Mafia lost influence across the region. In 1999, the Cardinal of Palermo initiated the beatification process for Puglisi, saying he was a "servant of God." He also warned the people against remaining silent about Mafia activities.

The beatification of Fr. Puglisi took place on May 25, 2013 with a Mass performed by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Palermo, Cardinal Paolo Romero.

Pope Francis, who was unable to attend the Mass because of a previous engagement, called Fr. Puglisi a martyr and an exemplary priest. He also condemned the Mafia and all criminal organizations.


More about Bl. Giuseppe "Pino" Puglis from Wikipedia

Bl. Giuseppe "Pino" Puglis Comments




More Saints





Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

16.

Image of St. Rose of Lima

St. Rose of Lima

Virgin, born at Lima, Peru 20 April, 1586; died there the 24 of August, 1617. St. Rose of Lima is the patroness of Latin America and the Philippines. This South American Saint's real ... continue reading | shop

17.

Image of St. Agnes

St. Agnes

St. Agnes was a Roman girl who was only thirteen years old when she suffered martyrdom for her Faith. Agnes had made a promise, a promise to God never to stain her purity. Her love for the ... continue reading | shop

18.

Image of St. Paul

St. Paul

St. Paul, the indefatigable Apostle of the Gentiles, was converted from Judaism on the road to Damascus. He remained some days in Damascus after his Baptism, and then went to Arabia, ... continue reading | shop

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his conversion from a former life of loose living, which included parties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions. His complete turnaround and ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Required


Female Saints

Image of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity

Sts. Perpetua and Felicity

With the lives of so many early martyrs shrouded in legend, we are fortunate to have the record of the courage of Perpetua and Felicity from the hand of Perpetua herself, her teacher Saturus, and others who knew them. This account, known as "The Martyrdom of ... continue reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading


Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Cyril of Jerusalem

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

"Make your fold with the sheep; flee from the wolves: depart not from the Church," Cyril admonished catechumens surrounded by heresy. These were prophetic words for Cyril was to be hounded ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Blaise

St. Blaise

Many Catholics might remember Saint Blaise's feast day because of the Blessing of the Throats that took place on this day. Two candles are blessed, held slightly open, and pressed against the throat ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Reminds Us that 'Love Is Sufficient of Itself'

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 1:1-9
1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
2 Day after day I shall bless you, I shall praise ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 24:42-51
42 'So stay awake, because you do not know the day ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 28th, 2014 Image

St. Augustine of Hippo
August 28: St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter