In September 1981 Fr. John Juhas began his assignment as pastor of St. Joseph (Collinwood). To introduce himself to his new parish at the time he wrote a 2-page letter. The letter text is provided below and gives a glimpse into the life, times and interests of one of St. Thomas More’s most devoted associates. Fr. John was at St. Thomas More from 1994 until 2007. He would officially retire 2 years later. Thank you to the diocesan Archives for providing the letter and Fr. John’s ordination photo.
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Joseph’s:
I would like to introduce myself to you by way of this unusually long and different kind of letter which may be helpful:
If you really knew me, you would know that:
- that I’m 42 years old.
- that I’ve been ordained a priest for six years (1975).
- that my last assignment was to St. Gregory the Great Parish in South Euclid as an associate pastor
- that I did not ask to be appointed as a pastor, or assigned to St. Joseph’s.
- but that I was “expecting” to reassign sometime this coming year, to our “foreign missions” in El Salvador.
- that I am “surprised” as you are to be here, especially as your “pastor”.
AND if you really wanted to get to know me as a person, you would want to know that …
that I was born in the city, on Cleveland West-Side in 1939, (June 20).
that my parents are both immigrants from Czechoslovakia.
that, as a child, I grew up in a changed and still changing inner-city neighborhood (“Tremont”) which is somewhat similar to our situation here in Collinwood.
that I have a brother, who is 2 years older.
that I attended a Catholic elementary school, Our Lady of Mercy (and graduated in 1953).
that I went to Benedictine Catholic High School, where I played on the football and baseball team (and graduated in 1957). and that afterwards I worked at different jobs: truck driver, shipping and receiving clerk, men’s clothing salesman.
then in 1962 I joined the United States Air Force for 4 years, and served as an aircraft control and warning technician (computer operation) in the Air Defense Command, 2nd Air Force – at Lackland AFB, Texas; Kessler AFB, Mississippi; I. Sawyer AFB, Upper Michigan; and Hamilton AFB, California — and received an honorable discharge in February 1966, at the rank of Staff Sergeant.
and that I discovered my vocation to become a priest and to serve God and His Church while I was still in the military.
that I returned home to Cleveland in 1966 and applied to Borromeo Seminary College to begin studies for the Diocesan Priesthood of Jesus Christ (and was graduated in 1971).
that all during the year of my seminary studies I spent my summers “working” in order to pay the tuition
- as a roofer (Lee Gould Co.);
- as asphalt and pavement laborer (Lee H. Gould Co.);
- as a truck driver (Barq Bottling);
- as a baseball umpire (Cleveland Association);
- as surveyor’s assistant (Schade Engineers);
- as a quality-control clerk (U.S. Steel)
- as a bus driver (Camp Happiness for the Mentally Retarded and Handicapped);
that next I entered St. Mary Graduate School of Theology, wherein I completed my studies for the Priesthood in May 1975, graduated and received my Master’s Degree, and thereafter was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest to serve the people of the Diocese of Cleveland, by Bishop James A. Hickey, June 14, 1975.
that since then I have served as an associate-pastor at St. Justin Martyr, Eastlake, 0H, 1975-76, (where I was also involved as spiritual-director for the Lake/Geauga County C.Y.O. “Search” Retreat Program for young people).
that I was transferred in 1976 and appointed to the faculty of Borromeo Seminary College to serve in the dual-capacity of Coordinator of High School Seminarians and Director of Apostolic Life (Field-education experiences and placement of college seminarians for Christian “service” activities).
that one year later I was transferred and assigned to St. Gregory the Great parish in South Euclid to fill an immediate and pressing need for an associate-pastor due to sudden vacancy there.
and that I served the people of the parish there from September 1977 until August 1981, when I was asked by the Bishop and appointed to succeed Father Ray Smith as pastor.
that, according to what others have said, some of my strengths or good-points as a priest are:
- my smile, which I received with my mother’s kindness;
- my love for people, especially children;
- my dedication to the Lord’s service in priestly work,
- especially because I like music and sing a lot in church;
- my strong interest in marriage and family life.
and, finally, that I hope to continue to be of service to you and your families here at St. Joseph’s.
In His Name,
FATHER JOHN JUHAS
P.S. And that — for fun — I like to mess around with movie-films, to read novels and poetry, to listen to music (Neil Diamond and the 5th Dimensions, the most!) and to play some sports, like bicycle riding, tennis, golf a little, ice and roller skate, but that I also have to be careful because
I have a broken nose from football; a dislocated left shoulder from basketball; and a badly bruised right shin-bone from a tennis accident. But ask me, to play anyway!