Joseph F. Girone, O.S.A.

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1954 – 2021 (February 13)

Joseph Francis Girone was born on April 12, 1954, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, one of three sons of Joseph Girone and Angela Tate. He was baptized at Saint Denis Church, Havertown, Pennsylvania, on May 9, 1954 and attended Saint Denis School and Archbishop Carroll High School, Radnor, PA. He enrolled at Villanova University in 1972 and was received into the Order as a novice in August 1974. Following his novitiate year in New Hamburg, New York, he professed simple vows on August 23, 1975 and then returned to Villanova where he completed his BS degree in Education in 1977. He pursued theological studies at the Washington Theological Union, Washington, D.C., was solemnly professed in May 1980, and was awarded his MA in Theology in 1981. Joseph was ordained to the priesthood on September 19, 1981 at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church, Bryn Mawr, by Bishop Patrick Ahearn, Auxiliary Bishop of New York.

Father Joe’s first assignment was to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, the Bronx, New York as parochial vicar, where he ministered both to the English-speaking and Spanish-speaking parishioners. In 1988 he was also named director of Casa Tolentino, the initial formation program for Hispanic men discerning a vocation to the Order, and director of Hispanic Vocations for the province. In 1994, he volunteered for the Peruvian Missions and was named pastor of Parroquia San Jose Obrero in Chulucanas. He returned to the United States in 1999 and served as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Staten Island, New York. From 2001 to 2005, he was a member of the Saint Augustine Friary Community, Villanova, while serving as Assistant Director of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware. In 2005, he returned to the Bronx as pastor of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, where he remained until 2016 when he was transferred to Saint Augustine Preparatory School, Richland, New Jersey, and became a member of the faculty.

In 2019, Father Joe began chemotherapy treatment for cancer but faithfully and determinedly continued his ministry in the classroom. In early 2021, he contracted the coronavirus and shortly after was admitted to the hospital. He passed away peacefully on Saturday, February 13, 2021 in AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Pomona, New Jersey.

Father Joe was a conscientious and dutiful religious, and a zealous pastor and educator, whose special interest was always for the poor, a significant factor in his apostolic preferences. Even in his last assignment in the classroom, he volunteered to spend the summer months ministering among the poor with our friars in Panama. Father Joe was 66 years old at his death and had been a professed religious for 45 years.