The opening session of the cause took place in Boston on June 2, 2011. With that step the process of investigating the life and virtues of Fr. Joseph officially began.
On May 22, 2014, Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston closed the diocesan phase of his cause of canonization. All of the collected documentation was sent to Rome for its study by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
In his closing remarks Cardinal O'Malley said: "When we are able to recognize the heroic sanctity in some of our brothers and sisters, it is a great encouragement to all of us to live our baptismal call of discipleship with the same generosity and joy and fidelity that we find in the lives of people like Father Joseph."