Joseph R. Gattinella, O.S.A.

1917 – 1987 (June 12)

Joseph Richard Gattinella was born on October 20, 1917, in Smith Mill, Pennsylvania, one of two sons and three daughters of Samuel Gattinella and Dora Leone. He attended Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish School, Philadelphia, PA, and Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York. Following his novitiate year at New Hamburg, N.Y., he professed simple vows on September 10, 1937. He then studied at Villanova College and at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. He was solemnly professed on September 10, 1940 and was ordained to the priesthood on May 18, 1944 in Washington, D.C. 

Father Joe, as he was widely known, was assigned to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Philadelphia, in 1945. From 1951 to 1955, he was an Air Force chaplain, and served the greater part of his ministry in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey areas. He was a pioneer member of the faculty at Saint Augustine Preparatory School, Richland, N.J., and served as the prior of the community there. He also served at Our Lady of Pompeii Parish, E. Vineland, N.J., providing pastoral care for the mission churches of that parish in Milmay and Dorothy, N.J.

In 1971, Father Gattinella was appointed pastor of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Philadelphia, and served in that capacity for 13 years. During his tenure he made necessary repairs to properties and paid off a part of the parish debt. On October 12, 1980 he was able to offer a Mass of Thanksgiving for making the final payment on the mortgage. He retired from active ministry in October, 1984, six months after celebrating the fortieth anniversary of his ordination. He remained in residence at Saint Nicholas as pastor emeritus until ill health required constant care in area hospitals and convalescent centers.

Father Gattinella died on June 12, 1987. Funeral liturgies were celebrated at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church, Philadelphia, and at Saint Mary Church, East Vineland. The Vice Provincial, Stephen LaRosa, O.S.A., was principal celebrant and homilist. The Bishop of Camden, George Guilfoyle, presided at the Vineland liturgy. Bishop Louis DeSimone, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, and Bishop James Schad, Auxiliary Bishop of Camden, attended the Philadelphia funeral liturgy. Father Gattinella was buried in Saint Mary’s Cemetery, East Vineland.