Girzone died on November 29th
Barbara Benjamin, author of The Joshua Priest: A Biography of Faith, in recounting the life of Father Girzone, author of the Joshua books, states: “Father Joe’s life reveals the power of living faith, for this gift shaped his life as one of God’s most profound contemporary messengers.”
My first encounter with Father Joe was in April 1987 at a neighborhood luncheon gathering. He had just finished self-publishing the first edition of Joshua and was making the rounds to introduce the main character to just about anyone who would listen. Seated in an armchair and dressed in a short-sleeved, open-necked shirt and tan slacks, he looked no more like a Roman Catholic priest than anyone else in the room, and I was immediately intrigued. On the one hand, he had a distinctively deep, calm, accepting spirit that radiated a rare mixture of conviction and humility and evoked unquestioning trust. On the other hand, he presented himself as just an ordinary man, without any outward sign of his vocation. He was different from any clergyman I had ever met.
In the years to follow, Father Joe would touch millions of lives with his deep faith, his deep love for Jesus, and his timely and powerful Joshua stories; and I would come to understand the integrity of his fiat, his innate and unconditional faith, his unwavering obedience, his seasoned humility, and his fearless commitment to Jesus and to Christian unity.
At the same time, the Joshua books began to have a life of their own and followed one after another onto best-seller lists and into reprint after reprint in one language and then another. In five short years, Joshua became universally recognized as a friend to people of all religions and nationalities, renewing their hope, their joy, and their faith. Joshua found his way into the Vatican and into the hearts of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and every denomination of Christians alike.
Through it all, Father Joe remained focused on his most cherished dream: to introduce the world to the loving and caring Jesus who was his constant companion through life. Dedicating himself totally to Joshua and to the healing that people found in Joshua, he came to realize this dream, and this dream became his ministry.