Drug addiction and degradation in Palermo: SOS from frontier priests.

Priests on the frontlines, left alone to fight against drugs circulating in the neighborhoods, forced to live with degradation and neglect. Father Salvatore Petralia of the Church of San Giovanni Apostolo raises his voice against those who “walk hand in hand with the devil” and calls for help from institutions that seem increasingly distant. In recent months, dozens of cars have reportedly disappeared from the Cep during Mass, but this is just the last straw that made the priest furious. Father Salvatore also targets drug dealers, those who shoot unnecessary and deafening fireworks, and even those who do not collect waste, allowing it to rot in the streets. Parishes, along with schools, police stations, and carabinieri stations, are often the only resource for growing distress. However, they are not always able to provide a solution. Father Giovanni Giannalia of the Church of San Filippo Neri seems almost resigned to the situation in Zen. He admits that there are no minimum living conditions in the neighborhood, giving an example of uncollected waste, which leads to burning garbage in bins and breathing in the smell. He feels that everyone accepts it as it is and that something is wrong, starting from the inattention to protecting the territory. The neighborhood also struggles with drugs, thefts, and more. Father Giannalia states that they can’t enforce rules on their own and that there are many lost young people and a sense of resignation. They have started projects with the municipality and other associations but are now facing setbacks. It will take a long time to solve these issues. In Sperone, on the other side of the city, the atmosphere seems completely different. Father Ugo Di Marzo, the leader of the Church of Maria Santissima delle Grazie, has made a strong pact with those who attend the parish in the spirit of Father Pino Puglisi. However, there are still challenges, such as school dropouts and drug dealing near children. Resources are needed for parishes, schools, and third-sector associations, and better distribution of funds could lead to more effective results. Father Massimiliano Turturici operates in a difficult neighborhood near Palazzo Reale, where the presence of drugs is a major problem. However, they are providing help, such as offering volunteering opportunities for those exiting prison, and educating young people through after-school programs. The goal is to transmit values, including Christian ones, that are essential to civilized living. The photo shows the Church of San Giovanni Apostolo in the Cep.

Droga e degrado a Palermo, Sos dai preti di frontiera

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