Grenier was born into a Franco-American family in North Dartmouth, MA in 1931.
He is one of four children whose first language was French. He attended Sacred
Heart Elementary School in New Bedford, MA, where he was taught in French and
English. In 1946 he began Assumption High School in Worcester, MA. In 1950 he
began college then in 1952 he entered the novitiate of the Assumptionist Fathers
and after a year of novitiate returned to Assumption College and went on to
graduate in 1955 with a BA in Philosophy.
He then went to Rome to the
Pontifical University of St. Thomas (at that time called the Angelicum) to study
Theology in view of the priesthood. He was ordained on December 20, 1958 in St.
Peter's Basilica in Rome. He completed seminary in 1959 with a Licenciate in
Sacred Theology (STL) and then returned to the United States to begin his
Father Grenier first taught
Theology at Assumption College from 1959 to 1963, then taught in the
Assumptionists' minor seminary in Bury, Quebec for three years. In 1966 he was
transferred to the Assumptionist Provincial House in New York City, where he
remained until 1980.
During that period he was Provincial Secretary for the
Order and spent two years during the 1960's in Rome doing secretarial work in view of a General
Chapter of renewal for the Order. Also during that period he earned a Ph.D. in
Theology (with a focus on modern Church history) from Fordham University in New York City.
His dissertation was on an aspect of the history of his
religious order, and in view of that he spent another year in
Rome doing research at the general house for his order. He
became involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal both in Rome
and New York City, and was leader of the Fordham Charismatic
Prayer Community for several years. In 1978 he was appointed
pastor of a Our Lady of Esperanza, a Spanish-language parish in upper Manhattan.
In 1980 Father Grenier left
the canonical ministry of the Roman Catholic Church in order to marry. He and
his wife had met at the Fordham Charismatic Community in 1975 and they worked
together on the pastoral team for two years. They were married in 1980 in the
Episcopal Church and lived in Queens, New York for six years.
During that time they began
working in a ministry to other Roman Catholic priests and women who were
discerning their futures (Good Tidings Ministry). This ministry grew as the
years progressed to become full-time work. Father Joe worked in Real Estate,
computer programming, administrative work for non-profit organizations, as
chaplain for a community hospice and was a counselor to troubled teens and families
at risk, counseling in both English and Spanish.
He now has a
practice as a counselor in individual,
marriage and family therapy, and spiritual direction.
and history of The Celtic Christian Church can be read in more
CCC History. In 1996 Father Grenier was
elected bishop of St. Ciaran's Fellowship and
was consecrated to the episcopacy
within the Celtic Christian Communion on April 6, 1997. The Celtic Christian
Communion was dissolved in April 1998, but Bishop Grenier continued his ministry
in the Fellowship, which was then renamed the "Celtic Christian Church."
Bishop Grenier is fluent in
French, Spanish, and Italian. He became fluent in Latin during his seminary
years because all courses were taught in Latin (they are now taught in various
Bishop Grenier and his wife
have one adult daughter. He lives with his wife in their home in
Pennsylvania, from where he shepherds "Celtic Christian Church."
He and his wife, Cait work at
a specific ministry of spiritual direction to those in
particular populations on the fringe of the Church, i.e. those
sexually abused by clergy,
and priests transitioning from the clerical state or transferring into
He is interested in studying theology and church
history and the Irish language. He enjoys woodworking and carpentry. His
leisure time is filled with walks through the
wooded area where his home is located, spending time with family and friends,
reading science fiction and enjoying Celtic and classical music.
Apostolic Succession of the Most Rev. Joseph A. Grenier
Consecration of Bishop Grenier
Return to St. Ciaran's Community in the Poconos