The Most Reverend Joel M. Konzen, S.M., Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta
Bishop Konzen was born November 6, 1950 in Toledo, Ohio and grew up in Oak Harbor, Ohio. He took his first vows as a Marist in 1975. He took perpetual vows in the Society of Mary and was ordained a deacon in 1978 and ordained priest in 1979.
Bishop Konzen has a bachelor of arts in English from St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Ind., a master of divinity from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, a master of arts in systematic theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and a master of arts in educational administration from The Catholic University of America.
Bishop Joel M. Konzen took his first position at Marist School in Atlanta in 1980, where he remained for nine years in roles as teacher, admissions director, principal and president. While a graduate student at The Catholic University of America, he served as vicar provincial of the former Washington Province of the Society of Mary. From 1992 to 1997, Bishop Konzen was principal and president at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Austin, Texas. In 1997, he returned to Washington, D.C., where he was vicar provincial again for two years.
Bishop Konzen returned to Marist School in Atlanta in 1999, where he served as principal until his episcopal ordination in 2018. He assisted in the founding of two new Catholic schools in Atlanta, Notre Dame Academy and Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School. He currently serves on the boards of Marist School, Atlanta; Pope Francis Children’s Home and School in Ghana, West Africa; and Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, LA. In 2015, he received the Educational Excellence Award of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) in recognition of his contributions to Catholic schools.
In addition to his time at Marist School in Atlanta and St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Austin Texas, Bishop Konzen taught at St. Peter Chanel High School in Bedford, Ohio (1976-1977), served as a deacon at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in New Orleans (1978-1979) and as a priest at St. Edmond Parish in Lafayette, La. (1979-1980).
Auxiliary Bishop Joel Matthias Konzen, S.M. Coat of Arms
Argent, upon a pile Azure the monogram of Mary, of the first, above an oak leaf Or, between in chief dexter an open volume of the third, bound and edged Gules, and in chief sinister a cross of the last.
The episcopal heraldic achievement, or bishop’s coat of arms, is composed of a shield, that is the central and most important part of the design and tells to whom the design belongs, the external ornamentation, that tells the owner’s position or rank, and a motto, placed upon a scroll. By heraldic tradition the design is described (blazoned) as if being done by the bearer with the shield being worn on the arm. Thus, where it applies the terms “sinister” and “dexter” are reversed as the design is viewed from the front.
For the bishop who is without jurisdiction, as an Auxiliary Bishop, the entire shield of his design is given over to his personal arms.
For Bishop Konzen the shield is silver (white) with a blue pile (an “A” shaped device) upon which is displayed the conjoined “A” and “M,” known an “the monogram of Mary,” in silver (white)
that is the emblem of the Society of Mary, known as the Marists, that is the Bishop’s religious community. The pile resembles an inlet of water, such as a bay or harbor, and this pile is charged with a gold (yellow) oak leaf to signify Oak Harbor, Ohio, where Bishop Konzen was born and raised.
Above the pile are an open book (gold [yellow] with red edges) and a red cross of The Faith to signify that Bishop Konzen has spent most of his life in education, in a Catholic environment, including his last position, before coming to the fullness of Christ’s Most Holy Priesthood, as a Bishop, as President of the Marist School in Atlanta.
For his motto, His Excellency, Bishop Konzen has adopted the Latin phrase “MISERERE GAUDENS,” that is taken from the 8th verse of the 12th chapter of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans. This passage can be paraphrased as “Be merciful, and with a cheerful heart.”
The achievement is completed with the external ornaments that are a gold (yellow) processional cross, that extends above and below the shield and a pontifical hat, called a galero, with its six tassels, in three rows, on either side of the shield, all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop by instruction of the Holy See, of March 1969.
By: Deacon Paul J. Sullivan
Rev. Mr. Sullivan is a Permanent Deacon of the Diocese of Providence