Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Biography of Bishop Joel M. Konzen, SM

Published April 19, 2018

Joel M. Konzen, the son of Lawrence A. and Margaret Thome Konzen, was born in Toledo, Ohio, on Nov. 6, 1950, and grew up attending public schools in Oak Harbor, Ohio. He attended the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio, for high school, followed by St. Meinrad College in Indiana, where he graduated in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in English. He earned a master’s degree in divinity in 1979 from Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as a master’s degree in systematic theology in 1978 and a master’s degree in educational administration in 1991 from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

In 1975, he made his first profession of religious vows as a Marist in Washington, D.C. He took perpetual vows in the Society of Mary and was ordained a deacon in 1978. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 19, 1979, in New Orleans.

He joined the staff of Marist School, Atlanta, in 1980, where he remained for nine years as teacher, admissions director, principal and president. In 1989, he moved to Washington, D.C., to attend graduate school at The Catholic University of America. During that time he also served as vicar provincial of the former Washington Province of the Society of Mary.

Father Konzen returned to Marist School in 1999, where he served as principal until his appointment as auxiliary bishop of the Atlanta Archdiocese. Among his other responsibilities he taught a leadership class at the high school, bringing in scores of local leaders from various fields to speak to students. In November 2017 he was appointed president of the school and was to take the position in July 2018.

In addition to his time at Marist School, Father Konzen taught at St. Peter Chanel Catholic High School in Bedford, Ohio (1976-1977), served as deacon at St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in New Orleans (1978-1979) and served as parochial vicar at St. Edmond Catholic Church in Lafayette, Louisiana (1979-1980). From 1992 to 1997, he was principal and president at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Austin, Texas.

In 1997, he returned to Washington, where he was vicar provincial for the next two years.

In recent years Father Konzen assisted in the founding of two new Catholic schools in the Atlanta area, Notre Dame Academy, Duluth, in 2005, and Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School, Atlanta, in 2014. He serves on the boards of those two schools, as well as Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy in Pontiac, Michigan, the Georgia Independent School Association and Pope Francis Children’s Home and School in Avenui, Ghana.

Father Konzen was instrumental in creating Reach for Excellence, a program sponsored by the Society of Mary on Marist School’s campus, which prepares under-resourced middle school students for success in college-prep high schools.

In 2015, he received the Educational Excellence Award of the National Catholic Educational Association in honor of his long service and significant contributions to Catholic schools. He was one of seven selected from more than 100,000 secondary school educators.