The Sacrifice of Don Giuseppe Diana

Francesco Occhetta, SJ

 Francesco Occhetta, SJ / Church Life / 18 June 2019

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“On the morning of March 19, 1994, Don Peppino was in the church of San Nicola, in Casal di Principe. It was his name day, the feast of St. Joseph, (Giuseppe in Italian, or Peppino for short). He had not yet put on his priestly cassock and was in the meeting room next to his study. They entered the church, silently walking through the nave. Not seeing a man dressed as a priest, they hesitated. ‘Who is Don Peppino?’ ‘I am’ One pointed his semiautomatic at him. Five shots: two hit him in the face, the others struck his head, neck and hand. Don Peppino Diana was 36 years old.”[1]

Twenty-five years have passed since that sacrifice, but the echo of Don Giuseppe’s voice has never ceased to resonate in the region of Campania and in Italian culture. For many – including the Church of the diocese of Aversa, to which Don Giuseppe belonged – that moment was like a turning point, with a before and an after:  no  longer would they remain oppressed by evil; they would find a spiritual and social redemption.

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