Fr. Joseph Tatro, M.S.
Upon completion of his clinical studies, Fr. Joseph Tatro will be a resource for priests and work in seminarian formation in his home diocese.
“After serving in parish and university assignments in my diocese for eight years I began to have thoughts of returning to the study of Psychology.
I had completed a B.A. in psychology sixteen years earlier and had five years experience working in drug-alcohol rehab and in a facility for run-away teens.
I thought those experiences had served me well in preparation for service as a diocesan priest, but I was surprised when the urgings of my heart and prayer began to lead me back to the area of psychology.
My priestly work made it clear to me that there is an urgent need to combine the spiritual and psychological in order to truly serve in our wounded culture.
Many are hurting with problems such as addiction, trauma from abuse, and the consequences of broken families.
Encountering such difficulties, I realized that, with a deeper knowledge of psychology I could be of greater assistance to those who come in search of healing.
I confided my desire to pursue advanced studies in psychology to a close priest friend who encouraged me to share these thoughts with my bishop, as it is through him that the Holy Spirit works.
And so, after months of prayerful consideration, I contacted the bishop. He only asked a few questions and the conversation was over within five minutes. I thought that was the end of my plans to study psychology.
Nine months later the bishop called, asking to have dinner with me. Over pasta he proceeded to ask if I would leave my assignment (which I loved) and go to Arlington, VA to pursue a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology at IPS.
Without hesitation I said “Yes.” He offered time to pray and think it over, but I assured him that I had prayed about this for many years and that IPS, with its unique program that integrates insights from theology and philosophy into the study of psychology, was THE place to go. I was ready!
Now that I have completed my first year, I am happy to report back to my bishop that IPS is exactly what we had hoped for: excellence in clinical theory and training in psychology combined with the rich teaching on the human person as articulated by the Catholic Church.
This what I had dreamed of and was attempting to do in the university classes I had taught prior to attending IPS.
Upon completion of my studies at IPS, I will be a resource for priests and work in the formation of seminarians in my home diocese.
I remain amazed at how the Lord works in our lives: leading me to work in the field of mental health for a number of years, leaving to enter into priestly ministry, and now combining the two in order to serve his people.
All this time the Lord had a plan to form me into His instrument in a particular way. Although not always aware of this plan, I am beginning to see that His plan is bringing me great joy and peace in my vocation to the priesthood.”