Reverend Father Joseph Jugan, 91, of Johnstown, PA, fell asleep in the Lord on August 9, 2021, surrounded by his loving nieces and nephews. He was born on Feb. 14, 1930 in Johnstown, the youngest and the last surviving of six children of John and Mary (Teplica) Jugan. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, George, Stephen, John and wife, Sophie (Zahornetz); sisters, Mary, and Helen Varga; brother-in-law, Basil Varga; and nephew, John Michael (“Basil”) Varga - all of Johnstown. He is survived by nieces and nephews: Marian (Varga) Shannon; Veronica Varga; Joe and wife, Susan (Varner) Varga; Karen (Hanson) Varga – all of Johnstown; George and Laura (Barkley) Varga of Maryland; Dennis and Shirley (Lubinsky) Jugan of Johnstown; Gary and Judy Jugan of Illinois; and numerous great- and great-great nieces and nephews. He graduated in 1949 from Johnstown Catholic High School (Bishop McCort), where he was a standout point guard on the basketball team, helping to lead them to the state finals in his junior year, 1948. Nicknamed “Jumpin’ Joe” by a local sportswriter, he was inducted into the Bishop McCort Hall of Fame in 1973. He entered the Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh in 1951 and received a B.A. from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, in 1954. He was ordained a priest for the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy (later, Archeparchy) of Pittsburgh by Bishop Nicholas T. Elko on June 1, 1958. Following his ordination, he served as assistant pastor at Sts. Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church, Braddock (Sept. 1958-May 1959); and St. John Byzantine Catholic Church, Hazelton (May 1959-Jan. 1961). In January of 1961, he was appointed pastor of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Church, Girard. During his pastorate there, he also served as Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus, Albion, and later for the Knights of Columbus, Lake City. In October of 1968, he was assigned pastor of St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church, Canonsburg, where he served for nearly 48 years until his retirement on May 1, 2016. In his long tenure there, he oversaw many physical improvements to the facilities, including renovations and beautification of the church, renovation of the church basement to serve as classrooms for religious education and for social events and activities, expanded parking facilities, and the construction of a new rectory. He also served the Archeparchy as a Consultor from 1995 to 2001, and as Protopresbyter for the Tri-State Protopresbyterate from 1997 to 2015. After his retirement from active ministry, Father Jugan returned to his family and his hometown of Johnstown, where he continued to spread blessings to all he encountered, especially those in the medical community who helped to provide his care. It was his custom to remind everyone that they were doing God’s work – from doctors and nurses to office staff and valets. It was a message he often shared with his nieces and nephews, that whatever their jobs or circumstances, even in the simplest every-day activities of their lives, they can serve God. He also enjoyed sharing his love of nature, seeing the Creator in all of His creations. His favorite pastime was taking rides in the country, often remarking that immersing himself in all of the inspiring beauty was like a prayer, a spiritual communion with God. He had a special, lifelong devotion to St. Joseph, his namesake, and he promoted the virtue of looking to him as a model of fatherhood and Christian life. He was especially pleased that Pope Francis proclaimed 2021 as the “Year of St. Joseph,” and it is poignant that he passed in this year dedicated to the Patron of the Universal Church, and of a happy death. Since boyhood, he felt an unwavering call to the holy priesthood, and it was the joy of his life. He was equally effusive in his love for his family. He was a devoted son and supportive brother. His nieces and nephews will remember him always as a warm and caring, generous and fun-loving uncle who was a constant, active, and beloved presence in their lives. In words and deeds, he was a living example of real relationship with God, as Father and friend. We thank God for the blessing of his life. While our hearts are bruised, we rejoice knowing that he passed from our hands into the arms of God, whom he loved and served so faithfully for so long. The family thanks Father Jugan’s medical care providers and their staff in the Canonsburg and Johnstown areas for their excellent care through the years, especially Dr. Daniel Gabriel, McMurray; Dr. Samuel Massoud and Dr. Ibrahim Sbeitan, Johnstown; Dr. Louis Fammartino, Jennerstown; and Windber Hospice, Windber. Friends will be received from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 12 at his home parish, St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church, 411 Power St., Johnstown, 15906, where the Priestly Parastas will be held at 7:00 p.m. Archbishop William C. Skurla will celebrate the Funeral Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, August 13, at St. Mary’s. Interment is at Mount St. Macrina Cemetery, Uniontown. The family suggests that donations in Father Jugan’s memory may be made to any of the following: St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church, 166 E. College St., Canonsburg, 15317; St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church; the Byzantine Catholic Seminary, 3605 Perrysville Ave., Pittsburgh, 15214; the Sisters of St. Basil the Great, 500 W. Main St., Uniontown, 15401. Arrangements are entrusted to the Francis G. Ozog Funeral Home, Inc., 710 Broad Street, Johnstown. Blessed repose and eternal memory!
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