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Father John Petrarulo
August 6, 2021
Obituary & Services
It is with great sadness that we bear the loss of our dear Father John D. Petrarulo, who at the age of 93, passed away on August 6th of 2021 in his home at St. John Vianney Manor.
Fr. John was born Feb. 5, 1928, the son of the late Anna (Pacella) and Donato Petrarulo.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Mary (Phillip) Giuffre, his nephews, Edward Petrarulo Jr. (Irene) and John Petrarulo. He is survived by his brother, Edward (Joan) Petrarulo. He is also survived by his nephews, Daniel Giuffre and Tony Giuffre, and niece, Mary (Mike) Dunegan. Also surviving are his great nieces and nephews, Amy Giuffre, Rachel (Thomas) Bergamasco, Jason Giuffre, Angela Giuffre, John Petrarulo, Kathryn (Oliver Nakano-Baker) Petrarulo, Michael John Petrarulo, Lauren Petrarulo, Ronald Gross, Jessica Gross, Cousin Eva Pelfrey and great-great nieces and nephews.
Fr. John attended St. Vincent College and Seminary in Latrobe, PA where he earned a B.A. in Philosophy and a Masters in Theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 30, 1953 and celebrated 68 years as a priest.
He served as Parochial Vicar or Administrator in numerous parishes throughout the Diocese of Pittsburgh, including Ellwood City, Carnegie, Monongahela, Donora, Swissvale, Beaver Falls, and Homestead. In 1968, Father John was appointed Pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in California, PA, where he would serve for over 16 years.
He earned a Masters in History at California University of PA, where he also served as Chaplain for ten years. In 1972, he was elected 'Citizen of the Year' for the Borough of California, PA. Moreover, he was a member of the Diocesan Clergy Council, Diocesan Holy Name Board, Catholic Cemeteries Board of Directors, Defender of the Bond of the Marriage Tribunal of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and was appointed as a delegate to Diocesan Pastoral Council.
It was hard for parishioners to see Father John leave for his next assignment. They loved his humble and compassionate nature as a spiritual leader and his ability to encourage Church and community members to come together.
Fr. John served as the elected Dean of the Washington County East Deanery of the Pittsburgh Diocese. He was Chaplain of the Mon Valley Serra Club for 17 years and was a fourth degree Knight of Columbus. He was the Chairman of the Washington County Board of Assistance, Chairman of the Board of Diversified Human Services, Inc. of the Mon Valley, and a Board member of Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services.
On July 6, 1985, Fr. John was appointed as the Pastor of St. Vitus Parish, New Castle, PA, where he would serve for 26 years. The RCIA program at St. Vitus, under the tutorship of Fr. John, had maintained one of the highest participation rates in the deanery at the time. While people found his adult classes interesting, he also would sometimes pay a visit to the St. Vitus School Kindergarten classes to perform magic tricks. He had an appreciation for children, especially when baptizing babies which he so very much enjoyed, and dressing up as Santa Claus for his niece and nephews.Fr. John also served as the Chairman for the Redevelopment Authority in New Castle and as Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Serving the community was his life.
In 1987, he received the Medallion Circle Award from the Diocesan Holy Name Society, and in 2003, was honored as the Distinguished Friend of Catholic Education and the Outstanding Catholic School Graduate by the Friends of Catholic Education.
Following his installment as Pastor of St. Vitus Parish, the community and parish had grown considerably. Under his leadership, improvements were made to the buildings and grounds. Through fundraising and effective financing, St. Vitus became a center for parishioners' families and neighboring communities.
In addition to his devotion to his parish family, Fr. John was equally as devoted to his own family. Despite his active service life he always made it a priority to gather the family together and provide a space for them to come together as one, most memorably for Memorial Day, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
You could also find him in his later years making pasta e fagioli and various Italian meals for his family. He shared his love for Italian food and all things Italian. Further, he organized fun football and baseball pools at St. John Vianney Manor where he retired at age 83.
Father John was a comfort to be around. One never felt out of place and could feel at ease with his sense of humor. He created a very welcoming and open opportunity for people to experience spiritual life. We will never forget this dear friend, priest, mentor, leader, brother, uncle, and great-uncle.
The family would like to thank the nurses and staff of Bethany Hospice for their expertise and support.
Friends welcome at Charles W. Trenz Funeral Home, 11110 Frankstown Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15235 on Friday, August 13th from 4-7 p.m.
A funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, August 14th at 10 a.m. at St. Paul Cathedral 108 N. Dithridge St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 conducted by Bishop David A. Zubik. (Everyone is asked to meet at the Church).
Interment will follow at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Penn Hills.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh under Commemorative Donations in Father John's memory. Arrangements in New Castle are by the Ed and Don DeCarbo Funeral Home and Crematory 941 S. Mill St. New Castle, PA 16101.
Ciao Padre Gio…We miss you!
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Father John Petrarulo, please visit our floral store.
Friday August 13, 2021 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM Charles W. Trenz Funeral Home, Inc. 11110 Frankstown Road Pittsburgh, PA 15235