Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

Image of Bl. Giuseppe


Feastday: October 21

Birth: 1937

Death: 1993

Beatified By: 25 May 2013, Foro Italico 'Umberto I', Palermo, Sicily by Salvatore De Giorgi (On behalf of Pope Francis)

Blessed Fr. Don Giuseppe "Pino" Puglisi was beatified on May 25, a mere 20 years after his martyrdom at the hands of the Sicilian Mafia. His beatification represents a new era of defiance of powerful organized crime families in Italy and around the world.

Don Giuseppe "Pino" Puglisi was born on September 15, 1937 in the Palermo neighborhood of Brancaccio, in Palermo, Sicily. His father was a cobbler and his mother made dresses. From this working class home, Puglisi learned the roughness of his crime-ridden neighborhood and refused to participate in the petty criminal activity on the streets.

He joined the seminary at the youthful age of 16, with an aim to become a priest and fight back against rampant crime and corruption.

In 1960, at the age of 23, Puglisi was ordained a priest and sent to work in various parishes. His archbishop, Cardinal Ernesto Ruffini had a passive attitude towards the Mafia, even claiming at one time that they were fictional, and that nobody knew what the Mafia really was. "So far as I know, it could be a brand of detergent," he once denied.

Cardinal Ruffini argued that communism was the greater threat to the people and that the Mafia was simply part of the fabric of local society.

However, Fr. Puglisi was well aware of the Mafia influence in his parish and suggested that Cardinal Ruffini needed to be corrected, albeit he added we "should always criticize it [the Church] like a mother, never a mother in law."

In the years following, he served in various parishes, criticizing the criminal culture and calling on children to attend school and refrain from vice.

Fr. Puglisi was especially renown for his humor as well as his tough stance against the Mafia. He refused money from the organization and denied awarding a contract to repair his church roof to an organization the Mafia "recommended."

In 1990, he had returned to his native Brancaccio and became priest at San Gaetano's Parish. He continued to speak boldly against the Mafia. He asked the authorities to move against known Mafia members and publicly denounced their activities.

He refused to permit known Mafia gangsters from marching at the head of religious processions, a Mafia tradition, and was the first known priest to confront men attempting to do so.

Unable to control him with money or intimidation, Fr, Puglisi became a target for the organization.

On September 15, 1993, two hitmen approached him in front of his parish. Fr. Puglisi spoke his last words, greeting the men saying, "I've been expecting you." One of the men then fired a single bullet at point-blank range, rendering him unconscious.

The bold priest was rushed to the hospital where doctors could not revive him. He died on his birthday.

Following his death, there was a loud public outcry for justice. Anti-Mafia graffiti was painted across the region with his signature quote, "And what if somebody did something?"

The hitmen and their associates who were sent to kill Puglisi were eventually arrested and the gunman, Gaspare Spatuzza, confessed to the killing. He, along with three other men were given life sentences in 1998 for murdering the priest.

Church leaders, now emboldened by the anger of the people and the arrest of Puglisi's murderers, began to join the outcry and the Mafia lost influence across the region. In 1999, the Cardinal of Palermo initiated the beatification process for Puglisi, saying he was a "servant of God." He also warned the people against remaining silent about Mafia activities.

The beatification of Fr. Puglisi took place on May 25, 2013 with a Mass performed by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Palermo, Cardinal Paolo Romero.

Pope Francis, who was unable to attend the Mass because of a previous engagement, called Fr. Puglisi a martyr and an exemplary priest. He also condemned the Mafia and all criminal organizations.

More about Bl. Giuseppe "Pino" Puglis from Wikipedia

Bl. Giuseppe "Pino" Puglis Comments

More Saints

Browse Saints by Category

Popular Saints




Image of St. Peter, First Pope

St. Peter, First Pope

Peter, who was also known as Simon Peter of Cephas, is considered the first Pope. Despite his papacy, Peter had humble beginnings and became one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was ... continue reading | shop


Image of Mary the Blessed Virgin

Mary the Blessed Virgin

The Mother, of God, Mother of Jesus, wife of St. Joseph, and the greatest of all Christian saints. The Virgin Mother "was, after her Son, exalted by divine grace above all angels and men". ... continue reading | shop


Image of St. Rose of Lima

St. Rose of Lima

Virgin, born at Lima, Peru 20 April, 1586; died there the 24 of August, 1617. St. Rose of Lima is the patroness of Latin America and the Philippines. This South American Saint's real ... continue reading | shop

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. John Berchmans

St. John Berchmans

Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at Diest, Brabant. He early wanted to be a priest, and when thirteen became a servant in the household of one of the Cathedral canons at Malines, John ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day
November 2015

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Female Saints

Image of St. Abigail

St. Abigail

Irish abbess and disciple of St. Abban. When St. Abban founded a convent in Ballyvourney, County Cork, Ireland, Gobnata was placed in charge. A well there bears her name. continue reading

More Female Saints

Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts


Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading

Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Anthony Mary Claret

St. Anthony Mary Claret

Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was born in Salient in Catalonia, Spain, in 1807, the son of a weaver. He took up weaving but then studied for the priesthood, desiring to be a Jesuit. Ill health prevented his entering the Order, and he served as a secular ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Francis Borgia

St. Francis Borgia

Francis was a young nobleman at the court of the King of Spain. He became a Duke when he was only thirty-three and lived a happy, peaceful life with his wife Eleanor and their eight children. But unlike so many other powerful nobles, Francis was a perfect Christian ... continue reading

Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of St. Therese of Lisieux

Jennifer Hartline: Trying to Learn Humility From St. Therese

By Jennifer Hartline

St. Therese helps me understand: "the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • Bet you've never seen a space rocket do THIS!
  • Happy Thanksgiving Day: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart
  • Daily Readings for Friday, November 27, 2015
  • St. James Intercisus: Saint of the Day for Friday, November 27, 2015
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • UPDATE: Did the U.S. military actually know they were bombing the ...

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 6:12-28
12 These men came along in a body and found Daniel praying and pleading ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74
68 Bless the Lord, dew and snow-storm, praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:20-28
20 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you must realise ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 26th, 2015 Image

St. John Berchmans
November 26: Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at ... Read More