95. Bishop Alfred Schlert: The Year of Real Presence

Bishop Alfred Schlert, Bishop of the Diocese of Allentown, joins Jim Friend on today’s show. Bishop Schlert discusses growing up in the Lehigh Valley, how the region has evolved, and the Bishop’s own vocation story. He describes how his vocation was the culmination of an internal journey with God and encouraged by his family and mentors. As a lifelong member of his diocese, Bishop Schlert’s road to the episcopacy has been unique. The Bishop served directly under all three of his predecessors, and he describes how that journey prepared him for the joys and challenges of his role as Bishop. Finally, Bishop Schlert discusses the 60th Anniversary of the Diocese, the theme of the Year of Real Presence, and how other dioceses and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are taking notice. 

For more information about the Diocese’s 60th Anniversary, and the Year of Real Presence, please visit the Diocesan Anniversary website located at https://yearofrealpresence.org.

Watch the video presentation of this discussion

Recorded on May 26, 2021

About Bishop Alfred A. Schlert

Bishop Schlert was born in Easton, PA on July 24, 1961, and was educated at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Elementary School, Easton and Notre Dame High  School, Easton. He prepared for the Priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia,  the Pontifical Roman Seminary, Rome, and St. John Lateran University, Rome. He was ordained a  priest at the Cathedral of Saint Catharine of Siena, Allentown on September 19, 1987, by The Most  Reverend Thomas J. Welsh, Second Bishop of Allentown.

Bishop Schlert served as a Parochial Vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Allentown, as a Professor at his alma mater, Notre Dame High School, Easton, and as the Catholic Chaplain at Lehigh University, Bethlehem. During his years at Notre Dame High School, he resided at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Easton, St. Bernard Church, Easton and Sacred Heart Church, Bath. He completed graduate studies at the Pontifical North American College, Rome, and the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome where he received a Licentiate in Canon Law in 1992.

He was named Vice-Chancellor and Secretary to Bishop Welsh in 1997 before being named Vicar General of the Diocese by The Most Reverend Edward P. Cullen, Third Bishop of Allentown, in 1998. As Vicar General, he oversaw the coordination of all administrative offices of the Diocese. While still serving as Vicar General, he was appointed Pastor of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Church, Hellertown in July 2008. Upon the Ordination and Installation of The Most Reverend John O. Barres, Fourth Bishop of Allentown, he was reappointed as the Vicar General of the Diocese and resumed full-time service as Vicar General in February 2010, with residence at St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, Hellertown, until his Ordination as the Fifth Bishop of Allentown.

Pope St. John Paul II named him Chaplain to His Holiness with the title of Monsignor in 1999. Pope Benedict XVI named him a Prelate of Honor, the second-highest rank of Monsignor, in 2005.

Bishop Schlert served as Vice President of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and as a member of its Administrative Board. He also served on the Diocesan Council of Priests, the Diocesan Finance Council, and the Diocesan College of Consultors. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of DeSales University, Center Valley, Pennsylvania.

He was appointed the Fifth Bishop of Allentown by Pope Francis on June 27, 2017. He was ordained a Bishop and installed as the Fifth Bishop of Allentown on August 31, 2017.

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