Fr Joe Pulis SDB (1932-2017)

On Monday, 28th August, 2017, with great sadness, we learned of the death of Fr Joe Pulis, SDB, two days short of his 85th birthday. He passed away at Cabrini Hospital, Melbourne after a short illness.

A Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul was celebrated at St Margaret Mary’s Church in Brunswick North.

Fr Joe was born in Sliema, Malta, on 30 August 1932. He was a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco of the Australia-Pacific Province.

Fr Joe was brother of Victor Pulis, Treasurer of Reskeon Maltese Association Seniors Group, and Eddie Pulis.

His brother Victor told me that when he was young they used to spend a lot of time playing with his religious model church with the altar.

He joined the Salesians as an aspirant and spent some time in the Seminary in Malta before he travelled to Australia with his cousin Joe Ellul in 1948. When he arrived, he attended the Archbishop Mannix Missionary College in Oakleigh, where he studied and stayed at this college.

On 31 January 1952, he took Religious Profession in Sunbury. From there he went to Brooklyn Park, South Australia, where he continued to study and at the same time did teaching and looking after the boarders of the college.

In 1958 he went to Naples, where he continued his studies in Theology, and on 25 March 1962 he was ordained Priest. Soon after, he returned to Australia going back to Oakleigh, teaching and furthering his studies. Later on, he went to Port Pirie where he served as Principal in that college.

Later he went back to Sunbury teaching and in charge of the student’s Infirmary. Here, Fr Joe was also learning Japanese.

In 1997 he went to Bairnsdale where he taught Japanese, Italian and other subjects and he was always in charge of Religion.

Fr Joe spent 18 months straight in Japan where he taught English. Later on, he travelled to Japan for two months every year to teach English. When he returned to Melbourne, he was back in Sunbury and Bairnsdale teaching Japanese.

Each year until 2016, before Christmas, he used to take students from Bairnsdale on excursions to Japan.

When Japanese student used to come to Melbourne as exchange students, they used to be looked after by Fr Joe.

His last trip to Japan was in November 2016.

Fr Joe spent his life ministering to the young teaching in Salesian schools in various states of Australia Brooklyn Park and Port Pirie (South Australia), Glenorchy (Tasmania) and Chadstone, Sunbury and Bairnsdale (Victoria).

During this time, Fr Joe acted as the Spiritual Director of the Maltese Salesian Past Pupils Association of Victoria for 26 years until this association stopped functioning. 

He entered eternal life in Melbourne, Australia, on the 28th of August, 2017.

He is survived by his brother Victor and his wife Lina, nieces Marie, Bernadette and nephew Patrick. He is also survived by another brother, Eddie and his wife Jeanette and niece Sarah.

May God grant him eternal rest. 

— Paul Vella


Fr Pulis’ Requiem Mass at St Margaret Mary’s Church in Brunswick North.