“We never talked about death, but we knew it was in the air. Don Pino faced it head-on, to defend us, his people.” This is the memory that Giuseppe Martinez, a member of the intercondominial committee of the Brancaccio neighborhood, holds of Father Pino Puglisi, 30 years after his assassination. The memory of the martyred priest will be celebrated today and tomorrow with a series of initiatives, starting with a torchlight procession tonight. But in the meantime, one of those who were closest to him also remembers him: “We had recently formed the committee – Pino Martinez continues – when the new parish priest was assigned to the neighborhood. We immediately went to him, asking for his collaboration to overcome the difficulties of the neighborhood and to be heard by the administration. Several citizens from the historic center had recently been transferred to Brancaccio, almost all of them from mob families or associated with these environments. This was the context in which we had to operate. But he did not hesitate and chose to help us. He signed documents for us, requests for the construction of primary structures such as a middle school, socio-sanitary centers, and open spaces for children. Two months before his death, myself and other members of the committee were intimidated, the doors of our homes were burned on the orders of the Graviano family.” A disturbing episode, the prelude to a crime preceded by a physical attack on Father Pino.Tonight at 9 PM, the torchlight procession will start from the small square named after the parish priest of San Gaetano, where he was assassinated on the evening of September 15, 1993: it will be led by Archbishop Corrado Lorefice. The route will unfold towards the church and reach Via Fichidindia, to the site of the future parish complex dedicated to Blessed Puglisi. “I am happy that his memory is being kept alive with these events – Martinez adds -. But there is a dream of Father Pino’s that was shattered: the construction of the church on Via Fichidindia. There is 8×1000 funding, over 4 million euros; work began, then everything stopped because of a damaged excavator. I am certain it was intimidation, otherwise why hasn’t even one stone been added from 2015 until now? It would be the best way to honor his memory.” Tomorrow at 6 PM, there will be a solemn Eucharistic celebration at the cathedral; at 9 PM, a new edition of Il Discepolo by Lia Cerrito, a text beloved by Father Puglisi and often used during retreats for meditation, will be presented on the church square. The performance will offer reflections on the main spiritual traits of the Blessed, represented in the narrative by the figure of the disciple: fidelity to the call of Jesus, humility, love, and the joy of the proclamation, and great wonder at the beauty of the gift of life. “He would not have given up – Martinez concludes – and that’s why they killed him.” Special programming by Tgs: Tomorrow, Tgs will dedicate its afternoon programming to the priest, now blessed. At 4:25 PM, the film “The Last Smile” will be shown, and at 5:30 PM, in a live special called “Father Pino Puglisi, the Challenge of a Smile”, the mass at the Cathedral, officiated by Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, president of the Cei, will be broadcast. In the studio, there will be Father Cosimo Scordato, Sister Anna Alonzo, and Father Franco Romano. At the end, there will be a tribute from Ficarra and Picone, and after the 8:20 PM news, the film will be replayed.
Palermo ricorda don Pino Puglisi, ucciso dalla mafia 30 anni fa: gli eventi