PADRE PINO PUGLISI
A priest for all seasons
Padre Puglisi's last interview. Here is a translation:
“It’s going to take a very long time, but hopefully, little by little, things are starting to change. A lot of children come to the Social Centre — some of them are here with us now. They are beginning to understand that life isn’t only about violence and degradation; that such values exist as peace, brotherhood and collaboration.”
Padre Pino Puglisi
This site is primarily a resource for English speakers, because most of the currently available information about Father Puglisi hasn’t been translated yet (though you will find many summaries and translations within these pages!) An exception is the official site of the Archdiocese of Palermo, which is translated into four languages.
Here is a brief summary:
Padre Giuseppe ‘Pino’ Puglisi was murdered by the Mafia on his 56th birthday, 15 September 1993.
His parish, Brancaccio, a poor area in the grip of the Mob on the outskirts of Palermo, even housed their secret stockpile of explosives, some of which were used to blow up the anti-mafia judges Falcone and Borsellino.
Padre Pino was killed because he worked tirelessly for the young people in his parish; he gave them hope, he fought for their rights, and with his gentleness, smile and example, instilled values which were directly opposed to those of the Mob.
They had threatened him, but he just carried on his work, inviting them to talk things over. His two hitmen, haunted by his welcoming smile (‘I’ve been expecting you’) later chose to co-operate with the law.
The content for this site is written by Sue Alexander-Barnes (me) and Dr Enzo Scalia, who knew Father Pino personally.
I live in Sheffield, England, but spent much of the ’80s in Palermo, my ‘second home’. I was baptised into the Catholic church in Palermo in 1986. Having experienced Sicilian mentality first hand, and sensed the hopelessness of so many good people in the face of relentless violence, fear and corruption, I was fascinated to hear about the little priest who stood up not merely to a criminal gang but to an entire way of life, simply through his love and his witness. However, he is a saint for the whole world, not just for Sicily! To me he has become a friend and mentor who helps me take the ‘little steps’ he used to speak about, without getting discouraged.
Enzo, a teacher and a former business director, has some very interesting stories to tell. He is married with two adult children, and his wife Marina was one of padre Pino’s helpers, taking part in many ‘camp-schools’ and looking after groups of children. They now live in Rome, coincidentally near Via Giuseppe Puglisi!
"If each one of us does something, then together we can do a lot"