Father Joseph Atcher, O.Carm. Elected Vice Prior Provincial


Father Joseph Atcher from Joliet Catholic Academy’s Board of Members has been elected Vice Prior Provincial. The Vice Provincial is, by virtue of the office, the Provincial’s Vicar when the Provincial is absent from the Province or otherwise impeded, unless another is designated by the Provincial. The Vice Provincial is a member of the Provincial Council who shares in the deliberations and decision making of the council giving advice and consent. He assists as directed by the Provincial in the responsibilities of that office.

Father Joe is a Louisville, Kentucky native. He received his Carmelite habit on August 21, 1968; professed his solemn vows as a Carmelite on April 13, 1974; and was ordained a priest on May 8, 1976 at Most Blessed Sacrament Church, Louisville.

Fr. Joe has a bachelor’s degree in English from Marquette University and a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame where he studied Liturgy while simultaneously studying Pastoral Ministry at the Washington Theological Coalition (later known as Washington Theological Union).

His first assignment was teaching English and Religion at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Illinois. After one year in this position, he became the dean of students, followed by campus minister and assistant principal.

In 1984, Father Joe moved to Darien and served as a retreat director at the Carmelite Spiritual Center and as a Vocation Director for the province. In 1985, he was appointed principal at Crespie Carmelite High School in Encino, California. He held that position for four years before moving to Chicago, where from 1989 to 1996 he held the position of assistant principal, principal and then president of Mount Carmel High School. In 1996, Fr. Joe was appointed to parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Tenafly, New Jersey, while at the same time being appointed the Director of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cemetery. Staying in New Jersey, Father Joe was appointed as pastor of Saint Therese Parish, where he served for the next four years.

Moving back to his home city of Louisville, Father Joe was appointed the pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in 2002. After two years, he was appointed the Executive Director of the Office of Lifelong Formation and Education for the Archdiocese of Louisville. In July of 2010, he was called by the Province to serve as the Director for Sponsorship and as the Provincial Delegate of the Lay Carmelites. He served in these roles until his election as Commissary Provincial for the Midwest in 2011 and was at the same time appointed the Provincial Treasurer.

When asked about his election as Vice prior Provincial, Father Joe said, “I accept this ministry for the Province relying on the grace of God and the help of my brother Carmelites.”

As reported in the Summer/Fall, 2014 edition of the Carmelite Review.

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