The Most Reverend John O. Barres, S.T.D., J.C.L., D.D.
Fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)
Bishop John O. Barres was born on September 20, 1960 and is a native of
Larchmont, New York. His parents, Oliver (a native of Bethlehem, PA) and
Marjorie Barres, are convert Protestant ministers who met each other at the Yale
Divinity School and entered the Catholic Church in 1955. The story of their
conversion is told in Oliver Barres’ book One Shepherd, One Flock, which was
published by Sheed and Ward in 1955 and again in 2000 by Catholic Answers
(with forewords by Avery Cardinal Dulles and Fr. Benedict Groeschel). Bishop elect
Barres is the fifth of six children and has seven nephews and four nieces.
Bishop Barres is a graduate of Phillips Academy (Andover), Princeton
University (BA in English Literature), 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. His 1999 doctoral dissertation is
entitled Jean-Jacques Olier’s Priestly Spirituality: Mental Prayer and Virtue as the
Foundation for the Direction of Souls.
Bishop Barres was baptized by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen in 1960 while his
father was working for the Bishop at the Propagation of the Faith in New York
City. He was ordained to the priesthood October 21, 1989 by Bishop Robert
Mulvee (Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Providence). He served as an associate pastor at Holy Family Church in Newark, DE (1989-1992) at St. Elizabeth's parish in Wilmington, DE (1992-1996).
After further study in Rome (1996-1999) with residence at the Pontifical North American College (Casa Santa Maria), he
served as Vice-Chancellor (1999-2000) and then Chancellor (2000-present) for Bishop Michael Saltarelli and then Bishop W. Frances Malooly.
Pope John Paul II name 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.
In addition to serving on various diocesan boards and committees, Bishop Barres has served on the Administrative
Board of the Maryland Catholic Conference (Annapolis, MD), the board of St. Francis Hospital (Wilmington, DE), and the Board of the Cathedral Foundation (Baltimore, MD).
Heraldic Achievement of The Most Reverend John Oliver Barres
Coat of Arms of the Diocese of Allentown
Gules a barrulet Argent encircled at fess point by a ring Or between two fleurs-de-lis Argent in chief and a cross Gules on a plate in base.
The red background of the shield recalls the ardent devotion to the Church of Saint Catharine of Siena, the patron saint of the Cathedral of the
Diocese of Allentown, which led the return of Pope Gregory XI from Avignon to Rome.
The golden ring on the silver bar is a representation of the ring, given to her by out Lord during an apparition, signifying the Saint's
mystical marriage to Christ. The two silver fleurs-de-lis are taken from the coat of arms of Blessed John XXIII to honor the Pontiff who established
the Diocese of Allentown. The Pope's original arms, they signified the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. The silver roundel [in heraldic terms, a "plate" from plata, silver] bearing
the red cross is derived from the three such roundels on the coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
This commemorates the Archepiscopal See which gave the Counties of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuykill to for the
territory of the Diocese. The roundels were, in turn, taken from the coat of arms of the Penn Family, the colonial Proprietors of Pennsylvania,
who, in 1733, authorized the first legal public Catholic Mass in the British Empire since the Reformation.
Coat of Arms of the Most Reverend John O. Barres, STD, JCL, DD
Barry of six Gules and Argent, an eagle displayed wings inverted, Azure, haloed, beaked and membered Or, holding in its talons fesswise the haft of an American woodman's axe Sable
with the blade Argent facing dexter base, on the eagle's dexter wing a bezant bearing a dolphin naient Gules, on its sinister wing a
bezant bearing a rose seeded and barbed of the last, and on its breast a torteau bearing the crossed keys of St. Peter proper.
The red and silver bars are a canting device recalling the Bishop's family surname "Barres." The Bishop's immigrant ancestor, Jacob Barres came from Prussia and first settled in Lehigh
County in 1852.
The blue eagle with the halo is the symbol of St. John the Evangelist,
honoring the Bishop's baptismal name patron. The cross keys symbolically
express the Bishop's dedication and fidelity to the See of Peter and to the
Most Holy Father, as did the arms of Bishop Barres' predecessor, Bishop Cullen. The dolphin
is taken from the arms of St. John Fisher, the rose represents ST. Thomas More,
particularly his chain of office as Lord Chancellor
of England. Pope John Paul II, by motu propio in 2000, declared
St. Thomas More the Patron of Stateman, Politicians, and Lawyers. Both of there saints,
one a prelate and one a layman, were martyrs for the Faith and remained steadfastly loyal
to the Church and the Holy See. Their symbols are depicted in red to indicate their martyrdom. The axe represents President Abraham Lincoln, of whom
the Bishop is a great admirer.
The arms are completed with the current episcopal indicia authorized ion 1968 by Pope Paul VI,
which are a gold processional cross placed in back of the shield end extending above and below it, and a round wide-brimmed green hat,
known as a "gallero," containing a tassel on each side of the hat's crown. Suspended
for the gallero are six additional tassels in three rows on each side of the shield, also green.
Motto: Holiness and Mission
The Bishop's motto derives from a phrase from the final section of the encyclical Redemptoris Missio written by Pope John Paul II in 1990, entitled "The True Missionary is the Saint."
His Holiness wrote: "The call to mission derives, of its nature, from the call to holiness. A missionary is really such only if
he commits himself to the way of holiness: "Holiness must be called a fundamental presupposition
and an irreplaceable condition for everyone in fulfilling the mission of salvation in the Church.' The universal
call to holiness is closely linked to the universal call to mission.
Every member of the faithful is called to holiness and to mission. This was the earnest desire of the Council,
which hoped to be able 'to enlighten all people with the brightness of Christ,
which gleams over the face of the Church, by preaching the Gospel to every creature.' The Church's missionary spirituality is a journey towards holiness."
Coat of Arms of the Diocese of Allentown
The golden ring on the silver bar symbolizes St. Catharine of Siena,
the titular saint of the Cathedral of the Diocese of Allentown. The ring designates
her mystical marriage to Christ, a ring given to her by our Lord in an apparition.
The red background of the diocesan shield signifies the sufferings of Catharine at
the hands of her parents, and recalls her devotion to the Church leading to the
persuasion of Pope Gregory XI to return from Avignon to Rome. The two silver
fleurs-de-lis are taken from the coat of arms of His Holiness, Pope John XXIII,
to honor the Pontiff who established the Diocese of Allentown. The silver roundel
bearing the red cross is derived from the coat of arms of the Archdiocese of
Philadelphia to commemorate the See which gave the Counties of Berks, Carbon,
Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill to form the entire territory of the Diocese