Larchmont native named bishop of Allentown

A Westchester native has been chosen the next Roman Catholic bishop of Allentown, Penn.

Monsignor John O. Barres, currently chancellor of the Diocese of Wilmington, Del., will be ordained a bishop and installed as Allentown’s fourth boss on July 30.

Barres grew up in Larchmont.

In our digital library, I found this note from Oct. 21, 1989:

“ORDINATION: The Rev. John Barres, son of Oliver and Marjorie Barres, parishioners of St. Augustine’s Church, 18 Cherry Ave., is to be ordained today in Wilmington, Delaware. He is to celebrate his first Mass at St. Augustine’s tomorrow at 12 noon. A reception will follow in the school auditorium.”

That’s St. Augustine’s in Larchmont.

According to Catholic-Hierarchy.org, he was born in Port Chester, probably at the now closed United Hospital.

According to Delaware Online, Barres’ parents were both Protestant ministers who met at Yale Divinity School and became Catholics in 1955. His parents later worked for the famous Bishop Fulton Sheen — who baptized young John.

What a story.

By all accounts, Barres is a cerebral fellow — a theologian with a master’s in business administration — who will be missed in Delaware.

It sounds like Barres, 48, will have to re-energize a diocese that has been dealing with parish closings.

”I have no blueprint,” he said. ”I am opening myself to the Holy Spirit.”

Photo: AP/Joe Gill

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.