Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown

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Diocese of Allentown
Dioecesis Alanpolitana
Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown.svg
Coat of arms
Flag of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown.svg
Country United States of America
TerritoryPennsylvania counties of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill, in the United States
Ecclesiastical provinceArchdiocese of Philadelphia
Area2,773 sq mi (7,180 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2015)
258,997 (20.4%)
DenominationRoman Catholic
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedJanuary 28, 1961
CathedralCathedral of Saint Catharine of Siena
Patron saintSaint Catherine of Siena
Secular priests210
Current leadership
BishopAlfred Andrew Schlert
Metropolitan ArchbishopCharles Joseph Chaput, OFM Cap
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Emeritus BishopsEdward Peter Cullen
Diocese of Allentown map 1.jpg

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown (Latin: Dioecesis Alanpolitana) is a Latin rite diocese in the ecclesiastical province of the Metropolitan Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia in the Eastern United States.

Its cathedral is the Cathedral Church of Saint Catharine of Siena, located in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It was announced on December 9, 2016 that Pope Francis had transferred Allentown Bishop John O. Barres and that Barres would serve as Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in Long Island, New York.[1]

Statistics and extent[edit]

The diocese covers the Pennsylvania counties of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill. It has a Catholic population of 258,997 as of 2015, approximately 20.4% of the total population; it maintains 89 parishes, 34 Catholic elementary schools, 6 Catholic high schools and two Catholic colleges, as well as 244 priests (active, retired & religious).

As per 2014 it pastorally served 301,000 Catholics (23.3% of 1,291,000 total) on 7,183 km² in 102 parishes and 26 missions with 236 priests (173 diocesan, 63 religious), 93 deacons, 399 lay religious (78 brothers, 321 sisters) and 17 seminarians.


The diocese was founded on January 28, 1961 by Pope John XXIII by splitting the Archdiocese of Philadelphia; the first bishop, Joseph Mark McShea, was installed on April 11 of that year.


Cathedral of Saint Catharine of Siena

Bishops of Allentown[edit]

  1. Joseph Mark McShea (1961-1983)
  2. Thomas Jerome Welsh (1983-1997)
  3. Edward Peter Cullen (1997-2009)
  4. John Oliver Barres (2009-2016), appointed Bishop of Rockville Centre
  5. Alfred Andrew Schlert (2017-present)

Other priests of this diocese who became bishops[edit]

Diocese today[edit]

Vicar General: Msgr. David L. James, J.C.L.
Judicial Vicar: Fr. John J. Paul, J.C.D., S.T.L.

In 2008, the Diocese of Allentown underwent a major restructuring of parishes. Declining Mass attendance, shifts in population, and a decrease in priestly vocations led to these changes. Much of the Northeastern United States is experiencing the same demographic transformation.

Deaneries & Vicars Forane[edit]

  • Schuylkill Deanery: Msgr. William J. Glosser, V.F.
  • Berks Deanery: Fr. Thomas P. Bortz, V.F.
  • Carbon Deanery: Msgr. John G. Chizmar, V.F.
  • Lehigh Deanery: Msgr. Daniel J. Yenushosky, V.F.
  • Northampton Deanery: Msgr. Stephen J. Radocha,V.F.

Parishes (as of 2016)[edit]

A cross (+) indicates a parish formed from the merger or consolidation of two or more former parishes.

Carbon Deanery[edit]

  • St. Joseph, Summit Hill
  • +St. Katherine Drexel, Lansford
  • +St. Francis of Assisi, Nesquehoning
  • +Our Lady of Lourdes, Weatherly
  • Immaculate Conception, Jim Thorpe
  • St. Joseph, Jim Thorpe
  • St. Peter the Fisherman, Lake Harmony
  • Ss. Peter and Paul, Lehighton
  • Sacred Heart, Palmerton

Lehigh Deanery[edit]

  • Cathedral of Saint Catharine of Siena, Allentown
  • St. Francis of Assisi, Allentown
  • St. Paul, Allentown
  • Sacred Heart, Allentown
  • St. Stephen of Hungary, Allentown
  • Our Lady, Help of Christians, Allentown
  • Immaculate Conception, Allentown
  • St. John the Baptist, Allentown
  • Ss. Peter and Paul, Allentown
  • St. Thomas More, Allentown
  • St. Joseph the Worker, Orefield
  • St. Ann, Emmaus
  • +Queenship of Mary, Northampton
  • Assumption BVM, Northampton
  • +St. John Neumann, Catasauqua
  • Assumption BVM, Slatington
  • St. Peter, Coplay
  • St. John the Baptist, Whitehall
  • Holy Trinity, Whitehall
  • St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Whitehall

Northampton Deanery[edit]

  • Sacred Heart, Bath
  • Holy Family, Nazareth
  • St. Nicholas, Berlinsville
  • St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Pen Argyl
  • Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Roseto
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel, Bangor
  • St. Rocco, Martins Creek
  • +Incarnation of our Lord, Bethlehem
  • Holy Ghost, Bethlehem
  • Holy Infancy, Bethlehem
  • St. Ursula, Fountain Hill
  • +Our Lady of Mercy, Easton
  • St. Anthony of Padua, Easton
  • Saint Joseph, Limeport
  • Assumption BVM, Colesville
  • Notre Dame, Bethlehem
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Bethlehem Township
  • Sacred Heart, Bethlehem Township
  • Saint Anne, Bethlehem
  • Saint Theresa, Hellertown
  • Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Palmer Township
  • Saints Simon and Jude, Bethlehem

Berks Deanery[edit]

  • Saint Joseph, Reading
  • Saint Peter the Apostle, Reading
  • Saint Margaret, Reading
  • Saint Paul, Reading
  • Holy Guardian Angels, Muhlenberg Township
  • Saint Mary, Kutztown
  • Saint Mary, Hamburg
  • Saints Cyril and Methodius, Reading
  • Saint Mary, Reading
  • Holy Rosary, Reading
  • Sacred Heart, West Reading
  • Saint Ignatius Loyola, Whitfield
  • Saint Francis de Sales, Robesonia
  • Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Shillington
  • Saint Benedict, Mohnton
  • Saint Catherine of Siena, Mt. Penn (Chapel)/Exeter Township
  • Immaculate Conception, Douglasville
  • Saint Columbkill, Boyertown
  • Most Blessed Sacrament, Bally

Schuylkill Deanery[edit]

  • +St. John XXIII, Tamaqua
  • +All Saints, McAdoo
  • +St. Teresa of Calcutta, Mahanoy City
  • St. Richard, Barnesville
  • +Divine Mercy Parish, Shenandoah
  • Saint Joseph, Sheppton
  • Saint Mary, Ringtown
  • +St. Charles Borromeo, Ashland
  • Saint Ann, Frackville
  • Saint Joseph, Frackville
  • St. Patrick, Pottsville
  • St. John the Baptist, Pottsville
  • St. Ambrose, Schuylkill Haven
  • St. Stephen, Port Carbon
  • +St. Michael the Archangel, Minersville
  • +St. Matthew, Minersville
  • +St. Clare of Assisi, St. Clair
  • +Holy Cross, New Philadelphia
  • +Most Blessed Trinity, Tremont

Reports of Sex Abuse[edit]

In early 2016, a grand jury investigation, led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, began an inquiry into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in six Pennsylvania dioceses: Allentown, Scranton, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Greensburg, and Erie.[2] The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia were not included, as they had been the subjects of earlier investigations.[2]

On August 1, 2018, Matt Kerr, spokesman for the Diocese of Allentown, announced that the Diocese would cooperate with a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling and publish a list containing names of clergy suspected of taking part in sexual abuse of children.[3] Kerr stated that the Diocese would post the list of "credibly accused priests" on its website the day a grand jury report is released.[3] The report was required to be released by August 14, 2018.[3]

On August 14, 2018, Bishop Schlert issued a video apology on behalf of the Allentown Diocese.[4] Schlert stated that the cases of sexual abuse in the Diocese date back decades and that most of the accused priests in the Diocese are either deceased or no longer active in the ministry.[4] Schlert also stated that the Diocese has had a zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse since 2003.[4] The same day, the grand jury report was published and showed at least 301 priests in the six dioceses, including Allentown, were accused of abusing children and were shuffled from parish to parish to avoid being checked.[5][6] The grand jury issued a statement in the report claiming that for all the six diocese which were investigated, including Allentown, “we believe that the real number — of children whose records were lost, or who were afraid ever to come forward — is in the thousands.”[5][6]

37 priests in Allentown were among the accused.[7] However the grand jury noted how some records of sex abuse in the Diocese of Allentown were lost.[5] Schlert was named as an "enabler" during the time he was vicar general to Bishop Edward Cullen.[7] Over time, Schlert was promoted for his role in handling the sex abuse allegations.[5] Others were promoted as well.[5]

Catholic education[edit]

Higher education[edit]

High schools[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pope Francis names new bishop to lead Rockville Centre diocese". Newsday. 2016-12-09. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  2. ^ a b Couloumbis, Angela (June 17, 2018). "Pa. report to document child sexual abuse, cover-ups in six Catholic dioceses". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ a b c d e Scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report accuses hundreds of priests of sexually abusing more than 1,000 children The Morning Call, August 14, 2018
  6. ^ a b [ 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury - REPORT 1 Interim --Redacted] (pdf, 1356 p., 28 MB). See p. 15-64 (pdf p. 18-67) and 317-388.
  7. ^ a b "Attorney General Lists Dozens of Priests Accused of Sex Abuse in Grand Jury Report". 14 August 2018. Retrieved 16 August 2018.

Sources and external links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°36′06″N 75°28′38″W / 40.60167°N 75.47722°W / 40.60167; -75.47722