Pope Francis recently celebrated the life of Father Pino Puglisi, an Italian priest known for his staunch anti-Mafia views.

Killed by Mafia hitmen on his birthday in 1993, Father Puglisi’s final words to his assassin were, “I’ve been expecting you.”

In a heartfelt message to Archbishop Corrado Lorefice of Palermo, Pope Francis praised Puglisi as a “good priest and merciful witness of the Father,” highlighting the priest’s dedication to keeping young people out of the Mafia’s grasp.

Born in 1937, Father Puglisi openly opposed Mafia customs in his Palermo parish. He refrained from using their money for events and took a stand against mob-backed businesses. Recognized as a martyr in 2013, he became the first Mafia victim to be honored in this way by the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis emphasized Puglisi’s teachings on love and compassion, noting the late priest’s remark, “if each one of us does something, then we can do a lot.” He encouraged current pastors to remain steadfast in their mission, focusing particularly on youth, as they represent the future.

The Church plans to establish a parish in honor of Puglisi and another anti-Mafia martyr, Rosario Livatino.

Ending his letter, Pope Francis sought blessings and prayers for everyone, entrusting them to both the Virgin Mary and Father Puglisi.

Pray for Father Puglisi!

Photo credit: via Wikimedia Commons

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