This year, to remember Don Diana, the young priest who paid with his life for having said “Enough of the armed dictatorship of the Camorra” with the documents he read in church, there will also be the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella. The head of state, the first to arrive in these lands, will begin his visit in front of the tomb of Don Diana in the Casal di Principe cemetery on 21 March, the day of remembrance and commitment in remembrance of the innocent victims of the mafia. There he will meet the brothers of Don Peppino, Marisa and Emilio and the witness of the murder Augusto Di Meo. A thread of pain binds them: Mattarella too saw a brother, Piersanti, fall victim to the mafia in 1980, when he was president of the Sicily Region.
Immediately afterwards, the president will stop at the “Guido Carli” high school, where together with the students he will meet the mayor Renato Natale, who thanks “the highest office in the state, who arrives in our community to remember a priest who gave his life for his people”. At 13 there will be a stop with lunch at the Nco, the New organized kitchen that changed the narrative of an acronym that represented death, Raffaele Cutolo’s New organized Camorra. Children with disabilities work in the cooperative and they will be the ones to serve the dishes in Mattarella. Which will finally move to the church of San Nicola, where Don Giuseppe was killed by the killer Giuseppe Quadrano.
It is the morning of March 19, 1994. Don Giuseppe Diana, for all “Peppe”, as every morning starts his working day early. At 7.20 he arrives at the parish, a little earlier than usual. After the 7.30 mass, he made an appointment in a bar with several friends for a cake and a coffee. At the door the sexton greets him. There are already some women and nuns in the church. There is also Augusto di Meo waiting for him, his photographer friend. Don Peppe is preparing to put on his clothes to celebrate the first mass. A man enters the church and asks: “Who is Don Peppino?”. “It’s me” replies the parish priest. Having identified the priest, the killer takes the weapon and fires a total of five shots at the priest: two in the head, one in the face, one in the hand and one in the neck. Don Diana falls on the dirt-stained floor. Hearing the shots, the people present try to rescue him, trying to revive him, but the priest is dead. In Casal di Principe everyone knows the reason for his murder, but no one has the courage to say it even in front of the microphones of journalists. But someone, in front of the media, with tears in their eyes denounces what is lived in the city. It is the young people who are being helped by the parish priest who are speaking, trying to give them a hope away from violence and the mafia mentality.
“We are grateful to our President for having chosen to honor those who gave their lives to defend his people and their land, report the volunteers of the Don Peppe Diana Committee. His presence is also the recognition of a path of resistance of many people and associations who in recent years have decided not to stand by and watch. Mattarella will arrive in Casal di Principe on the first day of spring”, writes Caserta web which underlines how March 21 is “the day in which a priest was buried, but a people was reborn. In our expectations now there is also the official recognition of what for us is already A MARTYR FOR JUSTICE”.
Of Don Diana, with his example of civil courage and love for the least, we also have that revolutionary document of protest and above all of denunciation, where his pastoral foundation was enclosed with words of extreme moral, civil integrity and universal spiritual values. Precisely this proclamation cost him his life, The title? “For the love of my people I will not keep silent”. It was a cross-section describing what the Camorra is, what it causes and above all an appeal to the institutions and citizens. “The Camorra today is a form of terrorism that inspires fear, imposes its laws and tries to become an endemic component in Campanian society. – wrote the priest in the document published on Christmas 1991 – It is now clear that the disintegration of civil institutions has allowed the infiltration of Camorra power at all levels. The Camorra fills a vacuum of state power which in peripheral administrations is characterized by corruption, protractedness and favouritism. The Camorra represents a deviant state parallel to the official one, however devoid of bureaucracy and intermediaries which are the scourge of the legal state”. Don Diana addressed all those who can do something to fight the mafia power: “We ask our priests, pastors and brothers to speak clearly in homilies and on all those occasions in which courageous testimony is required. To the Church that does not renounce its ‘prophetic’ role so that the tools of denunciation and proclamation take the form of the ability to produce new awareness in the name of justice, solidarity, ethical and civil values”.
Meanwhile, tomorrow, March 19, at 7.30, in the parish of San Nicola, where Don Diana was killed at the hands of the Camorra, a mass is scheduled to be celebrated, the one that Don Diana failed to celebrate that morning. The bishop of the diocese of Aversa, Angelo Spinillo, will celebrate the mass. The celebration is also expected to be attended by don Luigi Ciotti, president of Libera. After mass, Don Luigi, together with the Scouts and the Don Peppe Diana Committee and Libera, will bring flowers to Don Diana’s grave.
Furthermore, on 19 March, the Agesci Scouts will invade the streets and places of Casal di Principe and at 3 pm, in the space in front of the cemetery, they will renew their promise together with the nascent Casal di Principe 1 scout group and the National Committee.
On 20 March in Teano the youth forum, the scholastic institutes and local associations will meet on the theme “roots of legality” while on 21 March, on the occasion of the XXVIII day of remembrance and commitment which this year Libera celebrates in Milan , a large group of young people from the Don Peppe Diana Committee, Libera, Agesci, parishes and local associations will leave for Milan.
Again on March 21, at the church of San Michele Arcangelo in Casagiove, the meeting “On the way to legality”. Furthermore, on 21 March, at the Cimarosa theater in Aversa, the municipality and the schools present the “educational pact” and the innocent victims of the mafia will be remembered.
Also on March 21, the names of the innocent victims of the Mafia will be read out in all the schools in the province of Caserta at the same time, and the winners of the national prize dedicated to the young priest.