The Vatican announced January 23, 2018, that it will issue February 6, 2018, a new postage stamp recognizing Blessed Father Giuseppe Puglisi, murdered in response to his opposition to the mafia.
Born in the Brancaccio neighborhood of Palermo, Fr. Giuseppe Puglisi was ordained a priest in 1960. Aware of the difficult reality of the city, in his pastoral activities he worked to bring in an ever-increasing number of young people into the parish groups, thereby taking them off the streets. His efforts marked an open and declared struggle against the mafia, which, feeling threatened, commissioned his murder. Fr. Puglisi, Pope Francis said, “was an exemplary priest, especially dedicated to the pastoral care of youth.”
The pope spoke of Fr Puglisi on May 23, 2013. After reciting the Angelus, the Holy Father commented on the beatification of the Italian priest from Palermo who was murdered in 1993 by the local mafia after converting many youth in the area.
“Teaching them according to the Gospel,” the Pope said of Blessed Puglisi, “he snatched them out of the hands of organized crime, and so they tried to defeat him by killing him. In fact, however, he is the one who won, with the risen Christ.”
The Holy Father lamented the men, women, and children who are exploited in slavery and prostitution.
“The mafia is behind this exploitation and slavery,” the Pope said.
“Let us pray to the Lord that he convert the hearts of these people. They cannot do this! They cannot make us, their brothers, slaves! We must pray to the Lord! Let us pray that these Mafiosi convert to God and praise God through the shining witness of Don Giuseppe Puglisi, and let us treasure his example!”