‘Joshua’ Novelist Dies in Upstate NY

Father Girzone (Photo courtesy catholic news Service/Orbis Books)
Father Girzone (Photo courtesy Catholic News Service/Orbis Books)

Father Joseph Girzone, who became far more prominent in retirement than during active ministry because of his “Joshua” series of novels, died Nov. 29 at St. Peter’s Hospice Inn in Altamont, N.Y. He was 85.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated Dec. 12 at St. John the Evangelist Church, Schenectady with Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany as principal celebrant.

Father Girzone, a priest of the Diocese of Albany, retired from active ministry in 1981 because of a heart ailment.

After retiring, he wrote “Joshua,” which was published in 1983. It was a success, selling tens of thousands of copies in hardcover before a paperback edition was issued.

The premise of “Joshua” and several novels that followed in the series is that Jesus comes back to earth disguised as itinerant carpenter Joshua, distilling simple wisdom and challenging the prevailing order on a variety of issues so that the books’ characters can get closer to God.

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