A former amateur boxer who now is a drug treatment counselor, Johnson was kayaking along the shore just north of Lake George Village in New York.
The priests were from the Paulist Fathers, a Catholic retreat on the lake. One heard the cries for help and pulled him to safety.
All of the priests then said a prayer for Johnson.
Fortunately, he accepted the help but this is more obvious than the old joke of the drown man in terms of divine intervention.
The story goes that a man was stuck in his house as water rose in a storm. However, he had faith and prayed to God. He had no fear because “God will save me.” Just then a man in a canoe came by and offered the drowning man a life jacket. “No thanks,” the man said, “God will save me!” The water continued to rise.
Then a man in a motorboat came by and called for him to climb in. The man dutifully replied “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”
Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.” The man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”
So the helicopter flew away. Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to heaven where he sees God and was a bit peeved and complained that “I prayed every day and was a very religious man. I did everything the prayer books told me to do, so I have to ask you, why did you let me drown?”
Then God replied, “Who do you think sent the canoe, the motorboat, and the helicopter?”
The moral of the story is that, when a Tiki boat filled with priests comes to your rescue, climb aboard.