Appointment of bishop of Allentown, United States of America

Vatican Information Service - Bulletin
June 27, 2017

Resignation of metropolitan archbishop of Sassari, Italy, and appointment of successor

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the metropolitan archdiocese of Sassari, Italy, presented by His Excellency Msgr. Paolo Mario Virgilio Atzei, O.F.M. Conv.

The Pope has appointed as metropolitan archbishop of Sassari, Italy, Rev. Msgr. Gian Franco Saba, of the clergy of the diocese of Tempio-Ampurias, parish priest (formerly rector of the Pontifical Regional Seminary of Sardinia).

Msgr. Gian Franco Saba

The Rev. Msgr. Gian Franco Saba was born on 20 September 1968 in Olbia, in the province of Sassari, in the diocese of Tempio-Ampurias. After attending the diocesan minor seminary, he continued his priestly formation for two years in the Umbrian Regional Seminary and the Theological Institute of Assisi, then at the Pontifical Regional Seminary of Sardinia, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Theological Faculty of Sardinia.

He continued his specialist studies at the Augustinianum Patristic Institute, Rome, where he obtained a licentiate in theology and patristic sciences, a diploma in patristic sciences for research and teaching, and finally a doctorate in the same discipline. He also attended the ISTR of the Institut Catholique in Paris where he specialized in “Interculturalité Religions et Societé”. He also enrolled in the course in communications systems in international relations at the Faculty of Letters of the University for Foreigners of Perugia.

He was ordained a priest on 23 October 1993, and incardinated in the diocese of Tempio-Ampurias. After priestly ordination, he was vice-rector and rector of the diocesan seminary, member of the diocesan presbyteral council and the college of consulters. From 1998 to 2001 he was also diocesan assistant for Catholic Action Youth and delegate of the Regional Presbyteral Commission, member of the preparatory commission for the diocesan Synod, diocesan and regional assistant for the Ecclesial Movement for Cultural Commitment.

In 2001 he became director of the Diocesan Institute of Religious Sciences, developing this latter as the Istituto Euromediterraneo-ISR and then as Higher Institute of Religious Sciences, recognized by the Holy See. He founded and directed the Institute’s editorial project, the series of studies and research on religion and society. From 2004 he has been fixed associate lecturer in patristic theology in the Theological Faculty of Sardinia.

In 2008 he was appointed as administrator of the parish of Nuchis. From 2010 to 2015 he was rector of the Pontifical Regional Seminary of Sardinia in Cagliari. From 2015 he has served as pastor of the parish of Sant’Antonio di Gallura. In 2011 he was named Chaplain of His Holiness. He has produced numerous noteworthy publications and scientific contributions in specialist journals.


Appointment of bishop of Allentown, United States of America

The Holy Father has appointed as bishop of Allentown, United States of America, Msgr. Alfred A. Schlert, currently diocesan administrator of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Msgr. Alfred A. Schlert

Msgr. Alfred A. Schlert was born on 24 July 1961 in Easton, Pennsylvania, in the diocese of Allentown. After attending the “Saint Jane Frances de Chantal” primary school and the “Notre Dame High School”, he entered the “Saint Charles Borromeo” Seminary in Overbrook. He carried out his theological studies in the Roman Seminary and the Pontifical Lateran University, obtaining a licentiate in canon law in 1992.

He was ordained a priest on 19 September 1987 for the diocese of Allentown.

Since priestly ordination he has held the following offices: vicar of the “Saint Francis of Assisi” parish in Allentown (1987-1988); teacher at the “Notre Dame High School” in Easton (1988-1991 and 1992-1997); chaplain for university pastoral care at “Lehigh University”, Bethlehem (1994-1997); vice chancellor and special secretary to the bishop (1997-1998); vicar general (1998-2017); pastor of the “Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish” in Hellertown (2008-2010); delegate for the bishop at the Executive Committee and the Administrative Committee of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (since 1999); vice-president of the same Conference (since 2012); and diocesan administrator (since 2017).

In 2005 he was named Prelate of Honour of His Holiness.

Aside from English, he speaks Italian.


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