1884 – 1969 (January 25)
Joseph Gelasius Bugeia, son of Paul Bugeia and Mary Chircop, was born in Rabat, Malta, on February 1, 1884. He was baptized in the Cathedral of Saint Paul, and it was on the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul that he died. On June 23, 1901, Joseph entered the novitiate of the Maltese Province at Saint Mark Monastery in Rabat, and made his simple profession on June 24, 1902. Following theological studies, he was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Gozo, Malta, on June 5, 1909.
Father Bugeia’s first appointment was to the Island of Gozo, where he served at the Church of Saint Augustine. In 1914 he was asked by his superiors to assist in the Augustinian provinces in northern Italy. Among other appointments he was stationed at the Augustinian parish in Castel Gondolfo and the Church of Our Mother of Consolation in Genoa. It was at this time that he was invited to go to the United States to assist the friars in the Italian-speaking apostolate in South Philadelphia at the Church of Saint Rita of Cascia. Here for 15 years, from 1920 to 1935, Father Bugeia tended the spiritual needs of the parishioners. In 1935 he was transferred to the Church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine in the Bronx where he was assistant pastor until 1950. After an extended trip back to his homeland of Malta, he returned to Saint Rita in South Philadelphia where he labored faithfully until his retirement 18 years later in 1968. It was at Saint Rita’s that Father Bugeia celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood, June 7, 1959. On July 31, 1962, at his own request, he was affiliated to the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova.
A kind, gentle, religious, Father retired in 1968 to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, where he died on January 25, 1969. He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.