- First vows: 1968
- Priestly Ordination: 1979
Fr. Joe’s early training was in special education, catechetics and youth ministry. After a number of years directing a young adult community in Los Angeles, he was encouraged by the young people and his fellow Salesians to train in spiritual direction and to deepen his studies in Christian spirituality. He earned a doctorate in spiritual theology in 1996. Fr. Joe began teaching core ISS courses in 1992, while joining the DSPT faculty at the same time.
In his teaching, Fr. Joe brings to light how the gifts of the Holy Spirit become fruitful in the life of the individual disciple and in the coming together of the Church. His courses have highlighted the experience of the great leaders and founders of the last millennium as well as the experience and ideals of contemporary Christians committed to the Gospel in the New Ecclesial Movements. He often asks his students to see the Church as an ongoing story of ordinary people who can allow the extraordinary (charisms of the Spirit, rootedness in Christ) to transform their lives so that they become signs and bearers of God’s love to new generations and new contexts. Fr. Joe’s hope is that all those who study theology will not be content to leave their studies at an academic level, but will discern ways to integrate these studies with a life of faith.
In addition to teaching at the Institute of Salesian Studies, DSPT, and the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome, Fr. Joe is often called upon to direct retreats and to facilitate workshops or in-services for parents and educators.