Monday, August 31, 2009

Archpriest Joseph Hirsch 1944-2009

Father Hirsch remembered, "In 1984 a bishop in Chicago asked me if I would come out to Denver for a couple of years and see what I could do about this church. I found out a little about the history of the parish and that there were two points of view — that some people thought that they ought to stay here and some people thought that they ought to sell and move. So I talked with them and I told them that, if they were willing to stay here and work on the situation, that I would come. I didn’t want to be responsible for abandoning a church that had as rich a history as this church did. That would have to be their choice." The people decided to stay and Father Joseph and Matushka Paulette Hirsch came to Transfiguration Parish and the Globeville neighborhood. Both the church and the neighborhood have been blessed by their presence.
Father Hirsch recalled, "First we had to fix up the property, so that people would feel better about it. And then we had to fix up the neighborhood around the church."
"Fixing up the property" included replacing the "old saw mill" with a new church hall, obtaining historic designation for the Temple and restoring the foundation and floor of the church. "Fixing up the neighborhood" resulted in developing and implementing a comprehensive neighborhood plan, obtaining development funds for lighting, successfully battling the highway department and instituting the Old Globeville Days and Orthodox Food Festival. Holy Transfiguration and the Globeville neighborhood have both blossomed.
These many accomplishments don't describe the joyful, spiritual, generous man that left so profound a mark on so many people. Father Joseph passed away August 24, 2009 after a brief illness. He will be greatly missed.


Jess said...

Thank you for writing about him. He will be greatly, greatly missed.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful priest of a wonderful parish. His funeral service was a powerful testimony to his influence and love. More than 30 clergy participated in the service and at least half a dozen more were in the audience. Fr. Joseph's own church could not hold all the people who came; they filled the Assumption Greek Cathedral instead. It was beautiful. Globeville, his parish and many more of us in the greater area will feel his absence for a long time. Memory eternal!