Don Di Noto: “Father Puglisi, a Christian against the abomination of the mafia”

Father Pino Puglisialso affectionately called Treppì by those who knew him and loved him, it cannot be enclosed in the sole definition of “Anti-mafia priest”. Don Puglisi, blessed and martyr of the faithwas a priest, an educator, a teacher, a parish priest who “By educating the children according to the Gospel he lived, he saved them from the underworld”she said of him Pope francesco. That underworld that killed him just a year after massacres of Capaci and via D’Ameliowhere the judges died Giovanni Falcone And Paolo Borsellino, on his birthday. Don Puglisi was born on September 15, 1937 and on the evening of September 15, 1993 Salvatore Grisoli, then affiliated with Cosa Nostra and later a collaborator of justice, he took his life. Don Puglisi annoyed organized crime because he actually carried the message of love and hope of the Gospel among the little ones and the last of Palermo, those who in the sense of material and moral abandonment risk getting lost. He went among them and not only did his utmost in works and activities, with his “school camps” and the “Our Father” reception center, but he also instilled in them a new sense of love and respect.

The rule saves life

The mafia culture is uprooted with the culture of legality, and legality is a field that needs to be plowed and sown constantly. Don Puglisi was certainly, and still is today with his example of him, one of those figures who took care of this field in the light of faith. “Legality as modus vivendi it is seeing in the other both the man I have in front of me and the face of Jesus Christ, and respecting him ”, he explains to Don Fortunato Di Noto, founder and president of the Meter Association, which in 2007 received the Father Pino Puglisi International Award. “Don Puglisi spoke of legality enlightened by the Gospel, seeking dialogue with everyone. In the streets of Brancaccio he spoke to children in a simple way, he transmitted the Gospel message that is life, love and encounter free from the bonds of slavery and corruption. Legality corresponds to the rule and, in the suburbs, the rule saves lives ”, adds Don Di Noto.

Hope and service

The Gospel as the main road to travel together on a journey illuminated by the light of hope, especially in less radiant situations. This was the framework of meaning in which Don Puglisi acted in the midst of his people, the young and very young of Brancaccio but not only. “To give hope to the dreams of those children, you have to be among them, close to them and for them, in those situations of fatigue, social, environmental and legal deprivation, where the sense of abandonment and loneliness become everyday life”, he illustrates the founder of Meter. “The works, the initiatives and the activities can be carried out, it is then necessary to give them substance by making them concretely close”, says Don Di Noto. “And this vital substance is the Christian activity of service”.

Priest, not hero

Father Puglisi is a model of Christian and priest, continues the winner of the award named after him. “I read his biography and visited his places to understand his spirituality, Don Puglisi lived his vocation trying to behave as Jesus could have behaved, without carrying out actions configured to become heroic but rather of service”, says Don Di Noto . “His brother once said a very beautiful thing about him: ‘Don’t call him a hero, but a priest.” A courageous priest to the point of sacrifice. “Don Puglisi was encouraged – because ‘courage’ means’ to be encouraged – in the Eucharist, which gave a profound meaning to his being a Christian and a priest at the service of the people. The mafia killed him because he was a Christian against the abomination of the mafia ”.

His legacy

Thirty years after the massacres in Sicily, there has been much talk of the legacy of that season, of the technical, cultural and moral legacy of Falcone and Borsellino, as of others before and after them. When asked what is the teaching of Don Puglisi that we have treasured, Don Di Noto replies that “the most beautiful inheritance is to live one’s life in fullness and in love with Jesus Christ, as well as love for little ones and the weak and mercy for all those who are far off and enemies. Finally, Puglisi indicates the way of adhering to the Gospel, in carrying out his service to man ”.

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Don Di Noto: “Father Puglisi, a Christian against the abomination of the mafia”