Priest with a ‘missionary spirit' like Saint Paul to become bishop of Allentown

Priest with a ‘missionary spirit' like Saint Paul to become bishop of Allentown

Bishop-elect John O. Barres/ Retiring Bishop Edward Cullen
Bishop-elect John O. Barres/ Retiring Bishop Edward Cullen


A Delaware priest who was baptized by Bishop Fulton Sheen in 1960 has been named the new Bishop of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Bishop-elect John Oliver Barres will succeed Bishop Edward Cullen, 76, whose resignation was accepted by the Holy Father after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75.

Bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington W. Francis Malooly addressed the faithful in Allentown saying that they will receive a bishop with “a missionary spirit not unlike Saint Paul.”

"He is always looking to see how he can invite others to experience the Lord in their lives. You will quickly discover why, for twenty years of priesthood, he has been one of the most loved and respected priests of our diocese. We are saddened to lose his ministry here in Wilmington."

Born in Port Chester, New York in 1960, Msgr. Barres was baptized by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen in the same year.  His parents had converted to Catholicism only five years earlier after spending years studying to become Protestant ministers, according to the Diocese of Wilmington.

After receiving degrees at both Princeton and New York University Graduate School of Business Administration, Barres studied theology at Catholic University of America as well as the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. 

He was ordained a priest in 1989, and served as an associate pastor before completing further studies in Rome.  Upon returning to the United States, the bishop-elect served as Chancellor for the Diocese of Wilmington.

Cardinal Justin Rigali of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia also released a statement following Msgr. Barres new appointment.  “I warmly welcome Bishop-elect Barres to the Province of Philadelphia, which is composed of the dioceses of the State of Pennsylvania. I am confident that he will be warmly welcomed by the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Allentown as their new shepherd."

Bishop-elect Barres will be installed in his new diocese on July 30 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  He will serve nearly 300,000 Catholics and 279 priests.

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