Bishop David Bonnar Releases Second Pastoral Letter

Practicing Faith, Hope, and Love: Living the Virtues Together in Tough TImes


June 6, 2023

CONTACT: Justin Huyck, Director of Communications; (330) 744-8451, ext. 320,

The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown announces the second pastoral letter written by the Most Rev. David J. Bonnar, Bishop of Youngstown. Entitled Practicing Faith, Hope and Love: Living the Virtues Together in Tough Times, the pastoral letter has been sent to registered parishioners, will be available in parishes, and can be found online at 

A pastoral letter is an official letter a bishop writes to the faithful of his diocese and to the wider community. Like encyclicals and other documents issued by popes, pastoral letters are part of the Church’s magisterium, or “teaching office.” Written in conjunction with the Diocese of Youngstown’s 80th Anniversary, Practicing Faith, Hope, and Love follows Bishop Bonnar’s 2021 pastoral letter, Confronting Darkness with the Light of Christ: Testify to the Light, released shortly after Bishop Bonnar began his episcopal ministry.

Practicing Faith, Hope, and Love begins by acknowledging the tough times being experienced in the Northeast Ohio region and the Diocese of Youngstown, including a declining population, unemployment, violence, poverty, addiction and natural and man-made disasters that have threatened our health and well-being—affecting the poor and vulnerable in disproportionate ways. They also include pressures on Church life, such as the shortage of priests and lay ecclesial ministers, declining Mass attendance, financial challenges and the impact on strained priests and on the faithful as parish life changes.

Bishop Bonnar writes, “In the past two years as your Bishop, I have seen over and over again that the people of Northeast Ohio are indeed, ‘tough people,’ adapting to the changing times and supporting one another. As Christians in this portion of the Lord’s Vineyard, we know that our toughness and endurance always flow from the faith, hope and love we have in God. God’s work, love and revelation are always first, deeper than anything we might try to accomplish on our own.”

In his pastoral letter, Bishop Bonnar explores the virtues of faith, hope, and love as “the answer to the present moment, showing the path through our challenges and grief.” The Church refers to “faith, hope and love” as the theological virtues that allow us to participate in God’s life. 

In successive chapters, Bishop Bonnar focuses on each virtue. He offers practical ideas to promote a grateful, growing, confident and united faith; a patient, joyful, resilient, realistic and shared hope; and an intentional, concrete, compassionate, life-giving, unexpected and bonding love.

Reflecting on the importance of practicing and living the virtues of faith, hope, and love, Bishop Bonnar writes, “Jesus does not want us to be bystanders or spectators, but active participants in a relationship with Him. He is counting on us to continue His mission.”

Bishop Bonnar’s pastoral letter can be found at For a more in-depth summary of Practicing Faith, Hope, and Love, read the story in the June/July edition of The Catholic Echo.


Image Credit: Coronation of the Virgin with the Trinity and Saints, c. 1440 Olivetan Master (artist). Public Domain Open Access Image. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

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