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Priest’s Killer Invited to Vatican

June 29, 2000

VATICAN CITY (AP) _ The gunman serving a 16-year prison sentence for killing a Sicilian priest has been invited to the Vatican to appear Saturday on a television program.

Salvatore Grigoli confessed in 1997 to shooting the Rev. Giuseppe Puglisi in 1993 on orders from mobsters. Puglisi, who campaigned against the Mafia, was slain just a few months after Pope John Paul II toured Sicily and urged priests to speak out in the battle against organized crime.

Grigoli has been asked to participate in the televised program to talk about his alleged repentance and newfound faith, Monsignor Ugo Moretto, director-general of CTV, the Vatican’s television unit, said Thursday.

``He spilled the blood″ of a priest and now ``he has been converted,″ he said. Organizers were awaiting final permission from the Italian justice ministry to allow Grigoli to participate, he said.

Police were expected to escort the convict to the Vatican and then back to prison.

The program was to be taped in the Vatican auditorium where John Paul often holds his weekly audiences. The pope was not expected to attend Saturday night’s program.

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