Now is the time for evangelization - using every means of modern technology at our disposal to spread the Gospel.
THE MOST REVEREND JOHN O. BARRES
FOURTH BISHOP OF ALLENTOWN
Bishop Barres was born on September 20, 1960 and is a native of Larchmont, New York. His parents, Marjorie (Catchpole) Barres and the late Oliver Barres (a native of Bethlehem), were Protestant ministers who met each other at the Yale Divinity School, and subsequently converted to Catholicism, entering the Catholic Church in 1955. The story of their conversion is told in Oliver Barres' book, One Shepherd, One Flock. Bishop Barres is the fifth of six children and has seven nephews and four nieces.
Bishop Barres is a graduate of Princeton University (BA in English Literature), where he played three years of junior varsity basketball during the Coach Pete Carril era, and the New York University Graduate School of Business Administration (MBA in Management). His theological education includes an STB and an STL in Systematic Theology from the Catholic University of America (where he received seminary formation at Theological College), and a JCL in Canon Law and an STD in Spiritual theology from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.
Bishop Barres was baptized by Bishop Fulton Sheen in 1960 while his father was working for the Bishop at the Propagation of the Faith in New York City. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Wilmington on October 21, 1989 by Bishop Robert Mulvee. He began his priesthood as an associate pastor at churches in Newark and Wilmington. After further study in Rome he served as Vice-Chancellor and then Chancellor of the Wilmington Diocese.
Pope John Paul II named him a "Chaplain to His Holiness" in July 2000 with the title of "Monsignor." Pope Benedict XVI named him a "Prelate of Honor" in November 2005.
Bishop Barres was ordained a Bishop and installed as the fourth Bishop of Allentown by His Eminence, Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia at the Cathedral of Saint Catharine of Siena in Allentown on July 30, 2009.
He was the first priest ordained a bishop within the Diocese of Allentown.
THE BISHOP AT WORK IN ALLENTOWN
In his first three years as shepherd of the Diocese, Bishop Barres has initiated a vibrant diocesan-wide St. Thomas More Society for lawyers, which is very active in local efforts to educate the faithful on the need to protect our religious liberty., He’s also established an aspirancy program for young men considering a call to the priesthood and expanded ministry to people of Hispanic descent, the fastest growing population group in the diocese.
Bishop Barres appointed a 13-member Bishop’s Commission on Catholic Schools that is charged with helping to significantly strengthen the Diocese’s 38 elementary and seven high schools. He engaged the services of former Honeywell Chairman and CEO Larry Bossidy to consult on the Diocese’s first strategic plan, which in less than a year has led to a plan to enhance pastoral ministries and help to strengthen the financial condition of the Diocese. He helped to revitalize youth ministry in the Diocese with an innovative program called “Catechism Alive,” which combines catechesis, prayer, Eucharistic Adoration and confessions and drew hundreds of young people to seven separate sessions in its first two years.
THE BISHOP’S IMPACT BEYOND ALLENTOWN
Nationally, Bishop Barres has been an active member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. He has spoken out forcefully on the issue telling the faithful at the closing Mass of the Diocese’s 50th Anniversary celebration, “Under our Constitution, it is government power that is limited and subject to regulation, not the conscience rights of Americans. Those rights were granted to us by God, not by the government, and no government agency may lawfully infringe upon them. Neither we, nor the American people generally, will silently acquiesce as the right to religious liberty is whittled down by regulatory fiat.”
The Bishop also serves on two other USCCB committees: the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth; and the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. He also serves on the Board of Trustees at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary outside Philadelphia.
Local institutions of higher education have recognized Bishop Barres’ impact on the community. De Sales University in Center Valley and Alvernia University in Reading have awarded the Bishop honorary doctor of humane letters degrees. Albright College in Reading has awarded Bishop Barres an honorary doctor of divinity degree.