Following the death of his wife, he entered the Pontifical Beda College in Rome in 1977, and was ordained priest by the Right Reverend Joseph McGee, Bishop of Galloway, in St. Winin's Church, Kilwinning, on 3rd December, 1980.
Father Joe served in parishes at Ardrossan, St. Margaret's, Ayr, Girvan, and finally at Newton Stewart. In these parishes he is remember for his love and leadership of music, his involvement in parish life as well as community affairs. His love of the faith and the priesthood was witnessed and appreciated by those who knew him. He carried out his priestly duties with a sure authority and yet with a gentleness; this was much appreciated by those in hospital or housebound.
Following a heart attack, Father Joe's health deteriorated over the years. Although not one to complain, he was always loud in his praise of the National Health Service. Continued ill health, including failing eyesight, caused his retirement in October 1988. His choice to retire among the community and in the district where he had been so happy was a great joy to many local people. In retirement he was able to enjoy his favourite pastimes including his postage stamp collection, crossword puzzles, cinema films and watching cricket.
His death on 31st December, 1993 came as a great shock to many people who had seen him at Christmas. His nephew, Father Paul Glendinning, parish priest of St. Anthony's, Wythenghawe, Manchester, joined Bishop Taylor and many priests of the Galloway diocese in celebrating Requiem Mass and attending the burial in Newton Stewart cemetery.
'You must be rooted in Christ, and built on Him, and hold firm by the faith you have been taught and full of thanksgiving.'
May he rest in peace.