In November 1994, during his visit to Catania and Syracuse in Sicily, John Paul II called Fr Puglisi a “brave witness of the Gospel”.
For the diocese of Palermo, Father Pino Puglisi remains today certainly one of the main points of reference for anyone who would like to construct an exemplary life path when it comes to prophetic charism and fruitful educational skills.
In ancient Greek, the word for witnesses is “màrtyres” and the offering of one’s life, martyrdom, marks the earthly history of Father Pino. He bore witness to the full incarnation of Christian values in the Sicilian suburbs of Brancaccio, one of many where only the voice of the Church provides comfort and promotes the redemption of the least, often by the courage of denunciation.
Therefore, the day of Father Puglisi’s death, which is perceived not as a moment of defeat but that of the meeting with the Christ-who-is-life, is, in Palermo, the commencement of the diocesan year, the symbolic moment of the “kayròs”, or time of liberation and salvation.
Father Pino felt deeply in his own spiritual fiber his priesthood as a “consecrated” person, sacramentally configured to Christ, the shepherd of the Church
This love of God bore a desire for truth and social justice, which made him intolerable to the eyes of the mafia bosses in Palermo, just as one reads in the Book of Wisdom “to us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us.” (Wis 2:14) “3P”, as he liked to be called, knew how to erect this prophetic value upon timeless pillars: these are firstly Faith, living and cultivated in the meditation of the Word and in theological adjournment, then personal and liturgical prayer, the daily celebration of the Eucharist, and the frequency of the sacrament of Penance.
All of this was circumscribed within a life of poverty: “Gasoline is my bread”, he said. His humble table could lack bread, but he could not go without the fuel for his car, so ss to always be ready to race to where a phone call or a situation summoned him.