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Salesian priest, catechesis promoter for four decades in Philippines, dies at 84

Father Salvatore Putzu, SDB (Photo credit: Salesians Philippines - North Province)

A Salesian priest who promoted catechesis for 40 years in the Philippines died at 84 on January 26.

Father Salvatore Putzu, a Salesian priest of North Province in the Philippines, died of pancreatic cancer after suffering for almost a year.

He lived a fruitful and grace-filled life as a true son of Don Bosco, the patron saint of publishers and the Catholic press. He served the Lord as someone who always had in his heart the spread of the Good News of His Kingdom.

He will always be remembered as the champion in the field of catechesis and the new evangelization.

He had a gentle and caring heart for the poor and those in need.

He was also a great devotee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as seen in most of his writings.

Fr. Sal served the last 40 years of his missionary life in the Philippines, especially in promoting catechesis.

In 1989, he founded Word and Life Publications (WLP) in the service of catechesis and the new evangelization.

He established the "Study Edition" of official Church documents like the Papal Encyclicals, Apostolic Exhortations, and the Directory for Catechesis.

Under his guidance as editor-in-chief, WLP received the Publisher of the Year Award on September 11, 1995.

WLP also received two Catholic Mass Media Hall of Fame Awards for its flagship youth magazine, the Word & Life Magazine (CMMA Hall of Fame awardee for Best Youth-Oriented Magazine); and for one of this youth magazine’s regular columns, "Between the Lines" (CMMA Hall of Fame awardee for Best Entertainment Column).

Word and Life Publications is now in its 33rd year.

He served as Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE) for almost two decades (1993–2001).

During his time at ECCCE, he was active in publishing Docete, a quarterly catechetical review.

He was the brain behind the 1990 National Catechetical Year in the Philippines.

He contributed much to the success of the country's many catechetical conventions and catechetical forums while serving at ECCCE.

He had been an exemplary instrument in the production of the National Catechetical Directory of the Philippines (NCDP) and the wider expansion and circulation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) and the Catechism for Filipino Catholics (CFC).

He was awarded as an outstanding Catholic Publisher by several award-giving bodies, including the Asian Catholic Publishers, Inc.'s Catholic Authors Awards and the Catholic Mass Media Award, for his ongoing contribution to the propagation of the Christian faith through print and radio media.

During the 16th Cardinal Sin Catholic Book Awards on September 15, 2022, Asian Catholic Communications Inc. (ACCI) presented Fr. Sal with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

This Lifetime Achievement Award is given to a Catholic writer whose lifework represents a continuing contribution to the propagation of the Christian faith through print media in recognition of the exemplary Catholic life and apostolic zeal reflected in the Christian values and ideals in his writings.

He was born on October 12, 1938, in Sardinia, Italy. He made his first profession as a Salesian of Don Bosco on October 27, 1963, and was ordained a priest on September 7, 1974.


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