“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 glimpse new horizons, to understand that life isn’t only about violence and degradation; that such values exist as peace, brotherhood and collaboration.” Padre Pino Puglisi (from video below)
Padre Giuseppe ‘Pino’ Puglisi was murdered by the Mafia on his 56th birthday, 15 September 1993.
Padre Puglisi’s parish was in Brancaccio, a poor area in the grip of the Mob on the outskirts of Palermo. This was where they kept a secret stockpile of explosives, used to blow up the anti-mafia judges Falcone and Borsellino.
Padre Pino was killed because he worked tirelessly for the people of his parish, especially the children; he gave them hope, he fought for their rights, and with his great love, with his gentleness, smile and example, instilled values which were directly opposed to those of the Mob.
They had been threatening him for some months, but he carried on his work, even inviting them to ‘come out of the shadows’ and talk things over. That was probably the last straw. His two hitmen, haunted by his welcoming smile (‘I’ve been expecting you!’) later became ‘pentiti’, co-operating with the law and providing valuable witness for the cause of beatification.