“When I was ordained a priest, I was told about the legendary priests of Montreal. Father Joe was right up there. I had the great privilege of getting the call to anoint Father Joe as he had done for so many people in his ministry. He had been at the Glen (MUHC Hospital) and somehow had been transferred to the Verdun General Hospital. God had arranged things just so for Father Joe. In his last moments, he had been brought home to die in Verdun, where he gave most of his years of ministry and was loved so much.
When I arrived at the hospital, I was met at the door by Dr. Nicholas Pinto, who had been baptized by Father Joe and grew up in the parish. Father Joe had given Nicholas First Communion, confirmed him and later married him and his wife. Nicholas had been a faithful altar server for years. When we entered the room, Dr. Pinto switched roles. He became Father Joe’s altar server again and he assisted me in celebrating the Sacrament of the Sick and Last Rites. Father Joe was at peace and he let go about 20 minutes later.”
Father Robert Assaly