John Barres

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The Most Reverend

John O. Barres
Bishop of Allentown
Coat of arms of John Oliver Barres.svg
Diocese Allentown
Installed July 30, 2009
Predecessor Edward Peter Cullen
Successor incumbent
Ordination October 21, 1989
Consecration July 30, 2009
Personal details
Born (1960-09-20) September 20, 1960 (age 54)
Larchmont, New York
Died not dead
Denomination Roman Catholic
Alma mater Princeton University
New York University
Catholic University of America
Styles of
John Barres
Coat of arms of John Oliver Barres.svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style not applicable

John Oliver Barres (/ˈbærɪs/ BARR-is; born September 20, 1960) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He currently serves as Bishop of Allentown, Pennsylvania.


Early life and education[edit]

The fifth of six children, John Barres was born to Oliver and Marjorie (née Catchpole) Barres in Larchmont, New York.[1] His parents were Protestant ministers who met each other at Yale Divinity School, but later converted to Catholicism in 1955; his father wrote of their conversion in the book One Shepherd, One Flock, which includes forewords by Avery Dulles and Benedict Groeschel.[2][3] Barres was baptized by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.[2]

He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, before studying at Princeton University, from where he obtained a B.A. in English literature, and at New York University's School of Business Administration, there earning a M.B.A. in management (1984).[1] He received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1988, and a licentiate in systematic theology from the Catholic University of America, where he received his seminary formation at its Theological College.[1] He then furthered his studies in Rome at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, earning Licentiate of Canon Law in 1998 and a Doctorate in Spirituality in 1999.

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Barres was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Robert Mulvee on October 21, 1989. He served as an associate pastor at Holy Family Church in Newark, Delaware, until 1992, and at St. Elizabeth Church in Wilmington from 1992 to 1996.[2] He then returned to the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, where he earned a doctorate in theology in 1999; his thesis was entitled: "Jean-Jacques Olier's Priestly Spirituality: Mental Prayer and Virtue as the Foundation for the Direction of Souls."[2]

Upon his return to the United States in 1999, Barres became vice-chancellor for the Diocese of Wilmington coordinator of institutional chaplains.[1] In 2000, he was named diocesan chancellor and a Chaplain to His Holiness.[2] He was also made a Honorary Prelate of His Holiness in November 2005. He served on various diocesan boards and committees, as well as the Administrative Board of the Maryland Catholic Conference, the Board of St. Francis Hospital, and the Board of the Cathedral Foundation.[2]

In addition to his duties as chancellor, he briefly became pastor of Church of the Holy Child in Wilmington in May 2009.[4]

He is a member of the Roman Catholic organization Opus Dei.

Bishop of Allentown, Pennsylvania[edit]

On May 27, 2009, Barres was appointed the fourth Bishop of Allentown, Pennsylvania, by Pope Benedict XVI.[5] He succeeded Bishop Edward Cullen, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 in March 2008, and received his episcopal consecration on July 30, 2009 at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena. As Bishop of Allentown, Barres is the spiritual leader of over 276,000 Catholics in the Lehigh Valley and Berks County.[5] He is also Allentown's first diocesan bishop who did not previously serve the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.[4]

On July 30, 2009, Barres was consecrated and installed as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Allentown. Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, was the principal consecrator, and Bishops W. Francis Malooly (Bishop of Wilmington) and Michael Saltarelli (Bishop emeritus of Wilmington) were the principal co-consecrators.

Bishop Barres embraced the parish suppressions and church closings of his predecessor, Bishop Cullen, as his own. For the seven churches whose closings were reversed by the Congregation of the Clergy, Bishop Barres allows just one mass per year on the patronal feast day. The rest of the year, these churches are locked except for funerals for former parishioners.

In addition to his native English, he is fluent in Italian, French, and Spanish.[4]

On Friday, December 13, 2013, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky), and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), named Bishop Barres to succeed Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., who had served since 2011, as the Episcopal Liaison to the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States.[6]

See also[edit]


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Edward Peter Cullen
Bishop of Allentown
Succeeded by