Julian M. Gnall
March 3, 1929 – November 7, 2020
Fr. Julian M. Gnall:
He was born Michael Gnall on March 3rd, 1929 to Joseph and Mary (nee Stelmack) Gnall, the 8th of 10 children, in the small town of Mahanoy City, PA. Primary education was at Spruce street elementary school, followed by 4 years of high school, at Mahanoy City high school, graduating in June 1946. In September of that year, at age 17, he entered St. Procopius College, a Benediction college/seminary where he was enrolled as a Divinity student. As was the custom at that time, the taking of religious vows was considered a second baptism, so he was given the name Julian by the abbot of the monastery, and is known by that name to this day.
In 1952, Julian, with his fellow Ruthenian classmates, began a Byzantine Benedictine monastery in Butler, PA. For the next 3 years, they attended St Cyril and Methodius seminary, Pittsburgh, PA, to complete their theological studies. In 1954, Julian and 10 of his classmates were ordained as deacons by Bishop Daniel Ivancho, and on May 29th, 1955, he was ordained to the holy priesthood by his excellency, Bishop Nicholas T. Elko, at St John Chrysostom Church in Pittsburgh, PA.
For the first 5 years of his priestly life, Fr. Julian did relief work in 45 different churches throughout the eparchy of Pittsburgh. He received an appointment letter from the bishop notifying him he was being assigned as the Chaplin to the Sisters of St Basil the Great at Mount St Macrina, Uniontown, PA and instructor of religious studies at Mount St Macrina girls academy, where he served for 6 consecutive years. During this time, he also severed as administrator of St Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Morgantown, West Virginia.
In March 1969, during the height of the war in Vietnam, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the US Navy Chaplin corps. Over the next 4 months, Fr. Julian was assigned to the marine corps recruit depo. for training with marines in combat, and was then deployed with the second batallion, 1st Marines, serving in the combat zone of Vietnam, where he performed with honor, courage, and distinction, and was the awarded the Bronze Star with Fleet Marine Force Combat insignia.
Upon completion of his service in Vietnam, he was sent to Naval Station, Norfolk, VA for 2 years before heading off to his next duty station at the NATO Air Base in Keflavik, Iceland. Subsequent assignments included: the Navy Recruiting Base, San Diego, the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton and Naval Station, San Diego.
Following his promotion to Commander, he was specially selected as senior chaplin at the Navy’s largest Boot Camp in San Diego, where he supervised the activities and careers of 5 junior chaplains. Due to the importance and success of that assignment, Fr. Julian was promoted to the rank of Navy Captain.
His next assignment took him overseas to the U.S. Naval station in Subic Bay, Philippines, where he also served as a special assistant on the Admirals’ staff that conducted the affairs of all US Navy and Marine Corps activities.
When he reached the age 62, which was the mandatory age of retirement, he was released from active duty, and for his many years of faithful service was awarded an honorable discharge.
Upon retirement, Fr. Julian attended the University of San Francisco to pursue a master’s degree in the School of Theology.
Upon completing his education, Fr. Julian was awarded a contract to work as a Catholic Chaplin at the Naval Medical Center San Diego, where he served for 15 consecutive years.
During this time, he was introduced to the ministry of Retrovaille, a worldwide ministry devoted to helping couples who are living in troubled marriages, where eventually, he and one of the married couples were elected to serve as the International coordinators for a period of 5 years.
Due to COVID restrictions, Father MIke Murphy, head priest of Sacred Heart Church in Coronado, CA (where Fr. Juilan was in residence for years) is streaming a mass Saturday 11/14 at 12 noon EST/ 9am PST in the Latin Rite.
The body will be brought back for burial at Mount St. Macrina in Uniontown PA. (where his parents are buried) Services at the mount will be in the Byzantine Rite. These services will be private out of respect for the health and well-being of the Sisters of St. Basil the Great in residence there.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the Sisters of St. Basil the Great at Mount St. Macrina in Uniontown, PA.
Fond memories may be shared at www.goodbodymortuary.com for the GNALL family.
Services To Be Held Out of State