Diocese of Allentown Priests who became Bishops

Bishop-elect Alfred A. Schlert is the fourth priest in the 56-year history of the Diocese of Allentown to have been appointed Bishops. Here are the other three:

Most Reverend David B. Thompson

Bishop Thompson was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1950.  When the Diocese of Allentown was formed in 1961, he was principal of Notre Dame High School in residence at St. Bernard’s Church in Easton and thus became an Allentown priest. He was the Diocese’s first Chancellor and later Vicar General and pastor of the Cathedral of Saint Catharine of Siena. He was appointed Bishop of Charleston, South Carolina in 1989. He retired in 1999 and died in 2013 at the age of 90.

Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz   

Archbishop Kurtz was born in Mahanoy City in 1946. He was ordained a priest in 1972. He served in parishes and was Executive Director of the Social Action Bureau and the Catholic Social Agency. He was pastor of Annunciation B.V.M Parish in Catasauqua and then at Notre Dame of Bethlehem Parish. He was appointed Bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee in 1999 and named Archbishop of Louisville in 2007. He was vice-president and later president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer

Bishop Gainer was born in Pottsville in 1947. He was ordained a priest in 1973. He served in parishes in Easton and Reading.  He was campus minister at Lafayette College, Kutztown University and Albright College. He was Judicial Vicar of the Diocese of Allentown, pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Whitehall and the first Diocesan Secretary for Catholic Life and Evangelization. He was appointed Bishop of Lexington, Kentucky in 2002 and then Bishop of Harrisburg in 2014.


Contact: Matt Kerr                                                                                            

              610-871-5200, Extension 2265