The Most Reverend Bernard E. Shlesinger III, Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta

Bishop Bernard Shlesinger III

“Christ Must Increase”

Biographical Dates:

Born: December 17, 1960
Ordained priest: June 22, 1996
Ordained bishop: July 19, 2017



Bernard E. “Ned” Shlesinger III was born December 17, 1960 in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, VA, he received a bachelor of science degree in agricultural engineering from Virginia Tech in 1983. After college, he was commissioned as an officer in the U. S. Air Force and became a pilot. His military service primarily centered on flying the C-130E Hercules from Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville, N.C. He retired from active duty in 1990, when he began studies for the priesthood in the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C.

He studied philosophy at Theological College at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He then entered the North American College in Rome, Italy, completing a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He also began studies toward the licentiate of sacred theology in spiritual theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. He was ordained a priest on June 22, 1996 in Wilmington, N.C.

Shlesinger served as a parochial vicar at St. Mary Church in Wilmington and then as pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Newton Grove from 1998-2007, while also serving as assistant director of vocations from 1999-2002.

He became the director of vocations and seminarian formation for the Diocese of Raleigh in 2007 and served in that role until 2013. He was also the administrator of Maria, Reina de las Americas Church in Mount Olive and two other missions from 2010-2012. He became the spiritual director in the theology division of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, PA in 2013.

On May 15, 2017, His Holiness, Pope Francis, appointed him auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He was ordained July 19, 2017.

Coat of Arms

Auxiliary Bishop Bernard E. Shlesinger III’s Coat of Arms

The impalement of the personal Arms of Bishop Shlesinger with those of the Archdiocese of Atlanta was undertaken by Deacon Paul Sullivan of Saunderstown, Rhode Island.


Argent, a cross of eight lozenges, five horizontal and four vertical, Gules; to base sinister an “M” Azure, on an escutchen Or a Sacred Heart Proper, enwrapped and enflamed of the first.


The episcopal heraldic achievement, or bishop’s coat of arms, is composed of a shield, that is the central and most important part of the design and tells to whom the design belongs, the external ornamentation, that tells the owner’s position or rank, and a motto, placed upon a scroll. By heraldic tradition the design is described (blazoned) as if being done by the bearer with the shield being worn on the arm. Thus, where it applies the terms “sinister” and “dexter” are reversed as the design is viewed from the front.

For the bishop who is without jurisdiction, as an Auxiliary Bishop, the entire shield of his design is given over to his personal arms.

Based on the arms of Bishop Shlesinger’s home diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, by reversing the color to be red on silver (white), is a cross of The Faith that is composed of eight diamonds (heraldically called “lozenges”). Upon these lozenges is a gold escutchen (small shield within the major shield) that is charged with the symbolism of the Sacred Heart. To the lower right, base sinister, is a blue “M,” of the Virgin Mary, taken from the arms of His Holiness, Pope Saint John Paul II, symbolizing that all comes to Jesus by way of Mary.

For his motto, His Excellency, Bishop Shlesinger has adopted the Latin phrase “CHRISTUM OPORTET CRESCERE,” that is taken from the 30th verse of the 3rd chapter of Saint John’s Gospel. In this passage, Saint John the Baptist admonishes the readers that for our deep and effective faith in Jesus, CHRIST MUST INCREASE as our intentions “must decrease.”

The achievement is completed with the external ornaments that are a gold (yellow) processional cross, that extends above and below the shield and a pontifical hat, called a galero, with its six tassels, in three rows, on either side of the shield, all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop by instruction of the Holy See, of March 1969.

by: Deacon Paul J. Sullivan

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