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

37.

Image of St. Catherine of Siena

St. Catherine of Siena

The 25th child of a wool dyer in northern Italy, St. Catherine started having mystical experiences when she was only 6, seeing guardian angels as clearly as the people they protected. She ... continue reading | shop

38.

Image of St. Maximilian Kolbe

St. Maximilian Kolbe

Maximilian was born in 1894 in Poland and became a Franciscan. He contracted tuberculosis and, though he recovered, he remained frail all his life. Before his ordination as a priest, ... continue reading | shop

39.

Image of St. George

St. George

Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to rescue a beautiful lady. The dragon stands for wickedness. The lady stands for God's holy truth. St. George was a brave martyr ... continue reading | shop

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Martha

St. Martha

"Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique statement in John's gospel tells us of the special relationship Jesus had with Martha, her sister, and her brother. Apparently ... 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 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Bayley Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church. Born two years before the American Revolution, Elizabeth grew up in the "cream" of New York society. She was a prolific reader, and read everything from the ... 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. John Baptist de la Salle

St. John Baptist de la Salle

John Baptist de la Salle was born at Rheims, France on April 30th. He was the eldest of ten children in a noble family. He studied in Paris and was ordained in 1678. He was known for his work with ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Isidore of Seville

St. Isidore of Seville

Isidore was literally born into a family of saints in sixth century Spain. Two of his brothers, Leander and Fulgentius, and one of his sisters, Florentina, are revered as saints in Spain. It was also ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of Bonaventure was a friend and a disciple of Francis. When he looked at Francis he saw Jesus Christ. Bonaventure, like his friend Francis, was also a mystic. To him the Spirit of Francis is the Spirit of Jesus and

In the Major Legend, St. Bonaventure Points us to St Francis - and the Lord Jesus Christ

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On July 15th in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we commemorate the life, holiness, work and death of a great Bishop and Doctor named Bonaventure. He was born in 1218, became a Franciscan Friar in 1243, and died in 1274. A friend ... 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

Gospel, John 11:19-27
19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 29th, 2014 Image

St. Martha
July 29: "Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique ... 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