Bishop John Barres installed at Diocese of Rockville Centre

Stephen Romano

Bishop John Barres was installed as head of the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Tuesday at a Mass attended by hundreds of people at St. Agnes Cathedral.

Barres, 56, who headed the Diocese of Allentown from 2009 until last year, was appointed the fifth bishop in Rockville Centre by Pope Francis on Dec. 9.

He was the first priest ordained a bishop within the Diocese of Allentown, a news release said.

Barres succeeded Bishop William Murphy, who had headed the diocese since 2001 and submitted his resignation in 2015.

“It is a joy to welcome Bishop John Barres ‘back home’ to New York,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in a statement.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre is the eighth-largest diocese in the country with 1.5 million Catholics across Long Island.

Barres was raised in Westchester County and graduated from Princeton University, where he played three years of junior varsity basketball.

He received a degree in English literature from Princeton, an MBA from New York University, and then earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology and Licentiate of Sacred Theology in Systematic Theology from the Catholic University of America, according to his Allentown Diocese biography.

Barres also earned a Licentiate of Canon Law and Sacred Theology doctoral degree from the Pontifical University of Holy Cross in Rome.

 Barres said in his statement he “will be dedicated to supporting the global mission of mercy of our Holy Father Pope Francis, a mission that is in harmonious continuity with the mission of all the Holy Fathers I have loved.”

Pope John Paul II in 2010 named Barres a “Chaplain to His Holiness,” and Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 named him a “Prelate of Honor,” two of the highest designations in the church.

Barres, who was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Wilmington in 1989 and began his priesthood as an associate pastor at churches in Newark and Wilmington, Delaware, said last month he is looking forward to returning to New York.

“While growing up in Larchmont on the other side of the Long Island Sound, I had a clear vision across the Sound of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, never knowing that God’s vision and providence would one day bring us together,” he said.

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