The Diocese of Owensboro is pleased to announce the hiring of Joseph (Joe) Bland as Director of the Office of Evangelization, effective March 15, 2017.
The Office of Evangelization was conceived through the 2016-2018 Pastoral Plan for the diocese. One of the strategies within the goal of “Foster a sense of discipleship among Catholics of all ages,” was to create this office.
“In announcing the creation of an Office of Evangelization in the Diocese of Owensboro, we are striving to focus many of our existing opportunities for witness and outreach,” said Bishop Medley.
To make this happen, Bishop William F. Medley asked Martha Hagan, Vice-Chancellor for the Diocese, to chair an Evangelization and Discipleship Committee. The committee’s task was to formulate a vision for evangelization in the Diocese of Owensboro and to explore ways to support parish efforts to make disciples.
Bishop Medley said that, as a part of their process in creating a vision, this committee studied what some other dioceses are doing in their efforts to accomplish some of the work of evangelization. “In reality, everything we do as a Church should be about evangelization, about spreading the Good News of the Gospel, and about inviting all people to a relationship with Jesus,” said Bishop Medley.
Eleven committee members met for several months, created the vision for the office and crafted a job description for the director position. A few months later, a decision was made to hire Joe Bland.
Some of the responsibilities in this new office will be promoting an understanding of evangelization and providing catechesis, strategies, resources and processes for evangelization to all 78 parishes in the Diocese of Owensboro.
Joe has 14 years of experience working in the diocese in various roles, including Director of Family Life and interim Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry as well as Director of Faith Formation and Coordinator of Youth Ministry at St. Mary of the Woods Parish in Whitesville. Joe also worked for ten years at Trinity High School and several years at Brescia University teaching theology. His experience in the diocese made him a natural fit.
Bishop Medley said, “I have great confidence that we will see great benefits from Joe’s leadership.”
Joe said he was inspired to apply for the position through much prayer. “I have found the pearl of great price,” Joe said. “I have bought the field. Now I want to share the pearl with everyone.” (Mt. 13:45-46)
“My goal for new evangelization in the diocese is through the re-evangelization of our families,” said Joe, “and to promote a strong family life because it is through the family that society thrives. As my hero St. Pope John Paul II said, ‘As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world.’”
Joe received his Bachelor of Arts from Brescia College in Owensboro; his Master of Art in Catholic Thought and Life with a concentration in New Testament Studies from St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana; and is currently completing his Certificate in Theology of the Body Studies through the Theology of the Body Institute in Pennsylvania.
Joe has asked the Evangelization and Discipleship Committee to continue to serve as an advisory council in creating and implementing diocesan-wide efforts to fulfill the command given to us by Jesus to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19).