Atlanta, Ga., Feb 5, 2018 / 12:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has appointed Marist School principal Father Joel Konzen, S.M., to serve as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Bishop-elect Konzen is an Ohio-native, but has served in the Archdiocese of Atlanta for 28 years. He has led the Marist School in Atlanta as its principal since 1999 and previously held administrative positions at Marist from 1980 to 1989.
Konzen is the recipient of the 2015 National Catholic Educational Association’s Educational Excellence Award and recently helped to found two new Catholic schools in Atlanta, Notre Dame Academy and Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School.
“He has been an effective and generous administrator and advisor to the educational ministry of thousands of young people and their parents,” said Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory at the announcement of Konzen’s appointment Monday morning.
Konzen said preparing for Atlanta’s Banquet for Education Mass when he first received the call from Apostolic Nuncio Christophe Pierre asking him to accept the appointment.
“We Marists are supposed to avoid ecclesiastical honors. That’s in our Constitution. That’s not easy to do when the papal nuncio tells you that this is the will of the Holy Father,” Konzen said at the Feb. 5 press conference.
Father Konzen took first vows in the Society of Mary in 1975 and was ordained a priest in 1979. The Marists are a religious order founded in post-Revolution France by Jean-Claude Colin.
“A Marist is to think, act, judge, and feel as Mary would,” explained bishop-elect Konzen reflecting upon how his order’s charism has impacted his priesthood, “…humility, hospitality, prayerfulness, union with God and with one another…these are the virtues that Father Colin wanted to instill in the first Marists.”
He clarified that there are two different religious orders named the Society of Mary in the Church today with the same initials: S.M. Both were founded in France around the same time, the Marists by Father Colin and the Marianists by Blessed William Joseph Chaminade.
Auxiliary bishop-elect Konzen holds a bachelor of arts in English from St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, IN, a master of divinity from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, and both a master of arts in systematic theology and a master of arts in educational administration from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
During his time in D.C., he served as vicar provincial of the former Washington Province of the Society of Mary.
Konzen’s episcopal ordination will be on Easter Tuesday. He will be joining Bishop Bernard Shlesinger, who was appointed as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Atlanta in May of 2017.