Communique | March 2022

Beginning this month, the full Communique is provided in both the customary multiple page format, as well as the digital format below.

The Communique collects important information provided by diocesan offices for parish ministry leaders. It also includes promotional materials for diocesan events and programs, where applicable.

March 2022 Print Communique (DOCX/Word) | PDF
Communique Attachments (DOCX/Word) | PDF | Updated Background Check Requirements

Digital Format:

The full Communique – including attachments – is available below digitally. Announcements are listed by diocesan departments and office.

Announcements suitable or adaptable for parish bulletins are noted. Where applicable, graphic files are included: right click to save/download. Attachments (e.g. flyers) are also included within the notices for each office below.

Safe Environment Policy

Safe Environment Page, Full Policy, and Resources | Background Check Requirements

1. Who needs to be compliant?

A. All active clergy, religious, seminarians, and persons in formation are required to be compliant.

B. All employees in parishes, schools, and institutions, including the Diocesan Central Offices, are required to be compliant regardless of their level of contact with children or vulnerable adults.

C. Any volunteer who has unsupervised access to a child or vulnerable adult, or who works directly with a child or vulnerable adult, or who is responsible for a child or vulnerable adult on behalf of the Diocese, must be compliant.

2. Compliance Requirements

A. Signed Authorization & Verification and Acknowledgement Form submitted to local Compliance Officer.

All clergy, religious, seminarians, persons in formation, and employees, and those volunteers who work with children or vulnerable adults, must review a paper or electronic copy of the Safe Environment Policy and sign the Authorization & Verification Form and Acknowledgement Form. A signed copy must be submitted to your parish, school, or institution Compliance Officer. 

B. Fingerprinting and Background Checks

All clergy, religious, seminarians, persons in formation, and employees, and those volunteers who work with children or vulnerable adults, must obtain a BCI or BCI/FBI background check.

Background checks are only valid for five years and must be renewed to maintain compliance. Any Webcheck location may be used and locations can be found at

Background check requirements and codes are included in this month’s Communique attachments. Background checks must be sent directly to the Safe Environment Coordinator at the Diocese:

Catholic Diocese of Youngstown
Attn: Safe Environment Office
144 West Wood Street
Youngstown, OH 44503

As of January 20, 2020, background checks completed on or after this date for other agencies, employers, dioceses, etc., are not valid for compliance in the Diocese of Youngstown unless a copy is also sent directly to the Safe Environment Coordinator by BCI&I.

C. VIRTUS Account and VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children Class

All clergy, religious, seminarians, persons in formation, and employees, and those volunteers who work with children or vulnerable adults, must create a VIRTUS account with the Diocese of Youngstown and complete the VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children in-service class.

Visit the Safe Environment page on the diocesan website for a schedule of VIRTUS in-service classes and to register in either English or Spanish. Until the threat of covid-19 has subsided, individuals are permitted to take the VIRTUS course online.

Child/Vulnerable Adult protection in-service courses from other agencies, employers, dioceses, Scouts, etc., are not valid for compliance in the Diocese of Youngstown.

3. Updating Information

Compliance Officers must submit updates for current and new employees and volunteers as they complete child protection compliance requirements on a Compliance Checklist. A person is not compliant until the Safe Environment Coordinator receives a Compliance Checklist noting the dates that the requirements were fulfilled. Visit the Safe Environment page on the diocesan website to find the Compliance Checklist. 

4. Reporting Child/Vulnerable Adult Abuse

If you or someone you know has been abused at any time by a priest, deacon, religious, seminarian, person in formation, employee or volunteer of the Diocese of Youngstown, or if you believe that abuse has occurred or is currently occurring, contact civil authorities and also Mr. Dominic Colucy, Safe Environment Coordinator/Victim Assistance Coordinator, (office) 330-744-8451 x293 or (response line) 330-718-1388.

Visit the Safe Environment page on the diocesan website to find our most up-to-date Reporting Requirements and Procedures in English and Spanish.

5. Questions or Concerns

For more information about the Diocese of Youngstown Safe Environment Policy, contact by mail: 144 W. Wood Street, Youngstown, OH 44503, phone: 330-744-8451 x293; fax: 330-744-5099; or e-mail:

Letters of Suitability

Please note that no priest or deacon may exercise ministry within the Diocese of Youngstown without being granted faculties/permission by the bishop.  It is the obligation of the pastor of the parish where ministry or speaking engagement will occur (or other responsible person outside a parish setting) to insure that the visiting cleric has obtained a letter of suitability.  Without such a letter, the Diocese, the parish or school and the pastor or president could become legally liable should any wrongdoing occur. 


The visiting cleric himself should ask his bishop or religious superior to send a letter of suitability to Bishop Bonnar.  Letters of suitability are to be sent from one bishop/superior to another, not directly to a parish, since it is the bishop who is responsible for determining a cleric’s suitability for ministry. 


If you have any questions, please contact Msgr. John Zuraw, Chancellor

Canonical Services
Tribunal Inservice

Tribunal In-Service Available


The Tribunal staff has made available an ongoing, in-service for pastors, associates, deacons, religious, directors of religious education, religious education coordinators and counselors in order to prepare them in facilitating pleas for nullity for persons within the community whose marriages have broken down and who may be seeking a second union recognized by the Church.


The in-service focuses on preparation of case histories, compilation of documents, witnesses and determining of the appropriate grounds of nullity. Covered also are other types of nullity procedures.


Size of the in-service is in small groups of between 8-12 participants and generally runs approximately two hours. The in-service is offered at either the offices of the Tribunal of the Diocese of Youngstown or at a parish in the Canton area.

Interested parties, who have not already registered or who need a “refresher” should call the Tribunal at (330) 744-8451, ext. 252, to have their names placed on the registrant list. You would then be contacted when there are at least eight registrants for a particular location.


Catholic Charities Services
Catholic Charities

1. Warm Hearts for Warm Homes

The annual “Warm Hearts for Warm Homes” campaign (formerly Keep the Kids Warm) has officially ended. For all parishes who participated in a second collection, please forward a check to the Department of Catholic Charities by February 28, 2022 so that we can process allocations to the (6) counties of the Diocese in need. These funds help families with children, working poor adults and older adults on fixed incomes with utility assistance during the long, cold winter months here in Ohio. To date, we have collected $45,697! Thank you to all parishes that have supported this important collection.

Mail checks to: Catholic Charities, Warm Hearts Collection, 144 West Wood St., Youngstown, Ohio 44503

For more information, contact Jennifer Lucarelli at 330-744-8451, ext. 316 or


Catholic Charities, Diocese of Youngstown seeks full-time Director of Peace and Justice to promote the themes of Catholic Social Teaching through education, advocacy, and prayer; to provide opportunities for the Catholic faithful to engage with various aspects of the Church’s robust social mission; and to coordinate and collaborate with others of good will to influence public policy for the sake of the common good.

Ideal candidate will have a minimum of five years of experience in community organizing, advocacy, or other church-related field, and be a practicing Roman Catholic in good standing with the Church. Must be able to articulate the themes of Catholic Social Teaching, and possess experience working with diverse populations. A Master’s degree in theology, pastoral ministry or a related area of study is preferred. Bi-lingual (English/Spanish) candidates are desired. Must have valid driver’s license and reliable transportation, and pass a background check.

Interested candidates should send cover letter, résumé́, salary requirements and the names and contact information for three professional references to Mrs. Diane Daly, Director of Human Resources, Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, at
Deadline for application is March 11, 2022.


We are excited to announce the return of our Annual Voice of Hope Dinner. This event celebrates the unity and identity of Catholic Charities’ Services in the Diocese of Youngstown, and raises funds to support our Basic Needs Assistance program.

The re-scheduled event will be held on Thursday, April 28 at The Grand Resort Ballroom in Warren, Ohio. This year, we are honored to be joined by The Most Reverend David J. Bonnar, Bishop of Youngstown, who will provide a keynote address. We are also excited to recognize Very Reverend Monsignor Robert J. Siffrin and Mr. George Garchar with Voice of Hope Awards for their dedication, service and support of the ministry of Catholic Charities over the course of their vocations with the Church.

The evening will include music, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, delicious food, a wine draw, a 50/50 raffle, and, most importantly, an opportunity to reconnect with friends from across the diocese.

Tickets are $75.00 each. Register online at

Sponsorship opportunities are available. We are also seeking wine donations for our Wine Draw. If you would like additional information please contact Jennifer Lucarelli at 330-744-8451, ext. 316 or or visit the website at

With your help, we can be a light of hope to others during their darkest times.


(Flyer to distribute)

Full Page Flyer: Spring Coloring Contest

The First Step to Service Program is partnering with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) – the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Catholic Bishops. CCHD has a complementary mission of educating on poverty and its causes, and is celebrating 50 years! CCHD works to break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, families, and communities. Catholic Charities provides help, and creates hope, while CCHD offers a hand up, not a hand out.

As a part of this program, Catholic Charities is calling children of all ages to participate in our spring “Care for Creation” coloring contest. Children may participate in our Coloring Contest using the entry form included with this issue of Communique, through the parish, or through our local Catholic Schools. Contact Jennifer Lucarelli with questions at 330-744-8451, ext. 316 or email

Deadline for contest entries is April 30, 2022.

Catholic Relief Services

(Graphic and text for adaptation)

Lent is a time of repentance and of uniting ourselves to Christ during his 40 days in the desert. During this sacred season, CRS Rice Bowl—Catholic Relief Services’ Lenten faith-in-action program—invites us to reflect on how caring for our neighbor is caring for Christ.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink.”
(Matthew 25:35)

CRS Rice Bowl provides resources to bring Lenten spirituality to life for families, parishes and school communities, while continuing to connect Catholics in our diocese with our global human family. As Jesus teaches in the Gospel story of the loaves of bread and the fish, your small offering can feed many, and what may seem like a little, can actually be a lot.

This year, CRS invites you to journey to Madagascar, El Salvador and Timor-Leste to learn about the root causes of hunger and how communities—with the support of CRS and faith communities like yours—are making sure they have nutritious food to thrive. Through stories, videos and lesson plans, your local community can learn about the global issue of hunger and malnutrition and the Gospel call to feed the hungry. With prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we can continue Jesus’ mission to care for those in need.

We hear Jesus’s command to feed the hungry, whether he is multiplying loaves and fish for a crowd of thousands, or simply breaking bread with friends. Jesus invites us to share what we have with all people—in our local community and with our global human family.

All households are encouraged to participate in the 2022 collection. Seventy-five percent (75%) of this collection is forwarded to the national office, and twenty-five percent (25%) will remain here in
our Diocese to address issues relating to hunger. Rice Bowl materials are available in your local parish, or make a gift online at

If you need more information at the local level, please contact your CRS Diocesan Director, Jennifer Lucarelli at 330-744-8451, or

To read more about Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl, please visit Stories of hope celebrate the many lives that our Lenten journey touches.

Thank you for joining your faith community to experience an enriched Lenten journey through CRS Rice Bowl. What we do for Lent we do for Life.



CRS Rice Bowl is the official Lenten program of Catholic Relief Services, the official overseas international relief and development agency of the United States Bishops. It was created in 1975 with the goal of entering into solidarity with our brothers and sisters overseas through prayer, fasting, learning, and giving. This Lenten program is conducted in Catholic parishes and schools throughout the Diocese of Youngstown. Seventy-five percent of the funds raised are sent to CRS for international development projects; twenty-five percent of CRS Rice Bowl supports local programs and initiatives that address hunger and poverty.

Local groups and organizations are encouraged to apply for grants that will alleviate hunger and poverty in your community. Guidelines are as follows:

1. The project requesting funds must be operated within the geographical boundaries of the Diocese of Youngstown.

2. Projects must be consistent with Catholic moral and social teaching.

3. Recipient must be a not-for-profit organization.

4. The project requesting funds should make an immediate impact to alleviate poverty and hunger within the Diocese of Youngstown.

5. Grants are made on an annual basis only.

Completed applications (including required attachments) must be submitted by July 31, 2022.

Grants will be awarded by September 15, 2022.

If you would like to receive an application, please send your request via email to and an application will be returned to you.

Prison Ministry


Full Page Flyer for Kolbe Gathering (or see text below)

Kolbe Gathering

Kolbe Gathering is a place for the formerly incarcerated and their families to join with parish-based volunteers in spiritual support and fellowship. Embrace spirituality in prayer, music, scripture reading and fellowship, all in a welcoming and warm environment.

St. Maximilian Kolbe is Patron Saint of prisoners and drug addicts.  He was martyred at Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

For further information contact William Barber, Coordinator for Prison Ministry, at 330.235.3920.

Communications and Media Offices
Catholic Exponent

Publication dates and special sections for The Exponent are as follows:

March 4 (Special Sections: Credit Unions/Childcare)
March 18 (Special Section: Health Care)
April 1 (Special Section: Death and Grieving)
April 15 (Special Sections: Volunteerism / Easter)
April 29 (Special Sections: Priest Jubilarians / Summer Fun, Travel, & Pilgrimage)

The normal deadline for each issue is 12 days before the publication date. We try to get late information into the issue, but are sometimes limited by lack of available space.


The Catholic Exponent is your source for informative, reliable, and doctrinally sound news stories, features, and commentary – keeping you up to date on local events such as Catholic school Advent programs and parish events, as well as the news of the Church across the country and around the globe.

To subscribe, call 330-744-5251 or email to request subscription information. Thank you for supporting your diocesan newspaper.

Catholic Telecommunications Network of Youngstown (CTNY)

Radio Programming – Wineskins

Wineskins airs every Sunday at 7:30 a.m. on WKBN 570 AM in Youngstown, WRQX 600 AM in Salem at 7:30 a.m., WILB AM Canton 1060/WILB FM 89.5 Youngstown/WILB FM 94.5 Canton at 9:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.  Listen to Wineskins on the diocesan website by going to


The Current Issue Segment will feature:  March 6:  Fr. Jim Korda speaks with Fr. Norbert Keliher in the Bishop’s Corner; March 13:  Fr. Jack Lavelle on Church Politics and Government in the Life Issues segment; March 20:  Rachel Hrbolich on Catholic Charities; and, March 27:  Fr. Jim Korda talks with Julie Sutton on Stephen’s Ministry.


Vince Pecchia, from St. Angela Merici Church in Youngstown, will tell us about the Saints celebrated this month: March 6: Saint Frances of Rome; March 13: Saint Joseph; March 20: St. Oscar Romero; and, March 27:  St. Francis of Paola.


The Interview Segment will include:  March 6: Fr. Jim Korda speaks with Pastor Joe Cameneti, Part I; March 13: Fr. Jim Korda interviews Pastor Joe, Part II; March 20: Fr. Jim Korda interviews Pastor Joe, Part III; and, March 27:  Fr. Jim Korda interviews Rabbi Joseph Schonberger, Part I.


This month’s Music Segment is from the CD “What Wondrous Love,” A Lenten Journey.


Deacon Mark Kiraly, from St. Christine Church in Youngstown, will give his reflections on the Sunday Scripture Readings: March 6: First Sunday of Lent; March 13: Second Sunday of Lent; March 20: Third Sunday of Lent; and, March 27: Fourth Sunday of Lent.

Office of Media Relations

1. Parishes and other diocesan entities who receive inquiries from the media are asked to consult with Justin Huyck, Coordinator of Media Relations: (330) 744-8451, ext. 320;


2. Please also kindly inform the Office of Media Relations when your programs, initiatives, and ministries are featured in the news media.


3. The Office of Media Relations is available to consult on news releases regarding events and initiatives. Processes will continue to be developed to assist these efforts.

Office of Social Media

1. Private Facebook Group for DOY Social Media Networking

A private Facebook group ongoing networking regarding social media can be found at:

This is a great place to share resources, ask questions and meet others around the diocese doing social media for their parishes, schools, offices and agencies. You can also share upcoming events that you’d like to invite others to so they can share in social media as well. Note: This is a key way the Social Media Minister is beginning to share insights as to avoid overwhelming contacts email boxes.


2. Social Media Profiles for parishes, Catholic schools, agencies and offices

Catholic institutions in the Diocese of Youngstown that did not do so in 2021 (or who may have changed personnel) are asked to complete a brief Social Media Profile so that we know what is currently being used around the diocese, and to help network those seeking support in various areas.  Thank you to the 39 parishes/offices that have already done so!  Click on the link to complete:

Please note that the contact person listed in the profile will receive period emails from the diocese to support his/her work.

If your parish/school/agency contact has changed, please email the office with the updated name and contact information,



3. Social Media Helpful Hint of the Month

Remember that when you are using images that are not your own (i.e. photos or videos you created locally) to check on whether or not they are copyrighted or free-use/public-domain.  If the later, also check to see if the owner allows you to use it only with attribution, sometimes with very specific wording, which you can find by clicking on the image until you reach the source.

One way to short-cut the process is to utilize sites that already filtered the images for free use.  A few that diocesan offices have been using include:

General images:

Public Domain Pictures – Free Stock Photos

The “photos” tab of Canva:

Catholic images:

Archives of Catholic Current:

Marketing firm MDG Advertising discovered that content paired with an image attracted 94% more views on average than content without visuals.  Do keep in mind that many people do prefer to see familiar faces, so when you have permission* to utilize images of those at your parish, school, or agency, all the better.  However, using general images is a great option, just please do it with free public domain images!

*For a “Permission to Publish Consent Form template, please see form F21 at:

Clergy and Religious Services
Office of Clergy Services

1. Ash Wednesday / Lenten Regulations


The Season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, March 2, 2022. Parishes within the diocese will return to the regular familiar way for the imposition of ashes this year saying the formula as it appears in the Roman Missal and signing individuals on the forehead. Ashes may not be self-imposed; they are always given by a minister.

The reception of ashes is not mandatory or an obligation. The faithful should be reminded it is their own internal disposition and intention to repent and start over that is the best fruit of Ash Wednesday. Ashes are an external sign of that internal reality. They may enter into Lent with a repentant heart even if they decide that receiving ashes is not the right thing for them this year.

All Catholics are encouraged to participate in the traditional Lenten practice of prayer, sacrifice, and almsgiving. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence – one full meal and two smaller meals for persons 18 thru 59 years of age; no meat for persons 14 years and older. All Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence – no meat for persons 14 years and older. There is no obligation to fast during the weekdays of Lent; however voluntary acts of self-denial are encouraged.


2. Homily Preaching Workshop for Clergy


The Homily Preaching Workshop for Clergy will be held on Monday, March 14, 2022 – 1:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. at Saint Joseph Church in Austintown. The Workshop will continue with Preaching Practicum Groups on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, from 10:00 a.m.- 12:00n at Saint William Church, Champion and 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Holy Family Church, Poland and on Thursday, March 17, 2002, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00n at Little Flower Church in Middlebranch. Preaching Practicum Groups are limited to 8-10 participants. Please make your reservation before March 10, 2022.

The presenter for the workshop will be Rev. Richard R. DeLillio, OSFS. Fr. DeLillio is a member of the Oblate of Saint Francis de Sales order and has held many academic and leadership roles at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. including Professor of Homiletics. He recently retired from CUA as a Clinical Associate Faculty Member in the discipline of Preaching and Pastoral Studies and was awarded the Gerald L Brown SS Award for Excellence in Pastoral Ministry for his ministry to the Church and the formation of priests through preaching. He currently has a blog at, published weekly that contains reflections and spiritual enrichment for the spiritual journey in the Salesian tradition. Fr. DeLillio writes and publishes homilies for The Priest Magazine.


3. Chrism Mass – April 12, 2022

The Chrism Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. in Saint Columba Cathedral. All clergy are invited to concelebrate. There will be no attendance restrictions this year. Information will be sent to all clergy in the coming weeks.


4. Funeral Arrangements and Planning Guide

All priests recently received a revised Funeral Arrangement and Planning Guide and were asked to update and revise their funeral arrangements. Please return this guide to Office of Clergy Services as soon as possible.


5. 2022 Notre Dame Preaching Conference

Living in the Light of the Word: Enlivening the Scriptural Imagination June 20 – 22, 2022. Registration will be available in February

Office of Vocations

1. Seminarian Posters and Prayer Cards

The Seminarian Poster and Prayer Card for 2021-22 are in and should have been delivered to all institutions in the diocese. Please contact the Vocations Office when you would like more copies. 


2. Vocation Director at Your Parish / School

Diocesan Vocation Director Fr. Scott Kopp has a weekly cycle of visiting our 6 Catholic high schools. If you have a special youth ministry, parish, retreat, or vocational event, consider asking him to attend or speak. 330-744-8451 or by email at


3. Come and See Weekends

Weekend visits to the seminary are being put on hold for the year because of COVID and construction at the Cleveland seminary.


4. Seminarian Visits to Your School or Parish

Please remember all of the seminarians we have currently studying in our diocese. They are all willing and available to come and speak at your parish or school. To schedule one, please contact Father Scott Kopp at 330-744-8451 or by email at


5. Seminary Field Trips

Field trips to the seminary are being put on hold for the year because of COVID and construction at the Cleveland seminary.



6. Vocation Intercessions and Bulletin Blurbs for March

March 2022 Vocation Thoughts and Intercessions for Parish Bulletins (Stewardshup Thoughts also included)

These are vocation intercessions and bulletin blurbs for the month of March.  Please use these in your bulletins and at Mass to help promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life in your parish community and school.



7. Vocations Social Media

Website:  |   Facebook: doyvocations

Office of Vowed Religious

Religious Jubilarian/Conference Day – Save the Date

We invite all religious to reserve Saturday, October 22, 2022 and to celebrate with religious jubilarians of 25, 50, 60 years, and beyond, at Holy Family Parish in Poland.  A social begins at 12:45 p.m. followed by dinner and Sister Regina Rogers, OSU, presenting on the history of Religious Life in the Diocese of Youngstown.  Bishop Bonnar will celebrate Holy Mass at 4:00 p.m.   Brochures and Registration Forms will be sent at a later date.

Development and Stewardship Offices (Finance Department)
Office of the Annual Diocesan Appeal

2022 Annual Diocesan Appeal


Announcement Weekend for the 2022 Annual Diocesan Appeal (formerly the Annual Bishop’s Appeal) will take place on the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 26 and 27, with Commitment Weekends starting on the following weekend, March 5 and 6, the First Sunday of Lent. Print materials including in-pew envelopes, posters, and prayer cards will be delivered to all parishes before the end of February. Appeal manuals are being emailed to diocesan email accounts for all pastors, parishes, and bookkeepers. Additional promotional materials will be available at and on diocesan social media accounts. Please contact Luke Politsky at or 330-744-8451 x 298 for more information.


As we prepare for the 2022 Appeal, it is essential that our records be accurate for the mailings sent on behalf of Bishop Bonnar. We will be using ParishSOFT to manage all Appeal operations starting in 2022. To assist us in maintaining a current and accurate database, all parishes not using ParishSOFT should email a list of all registered parishioners to Peggy McMahon at Please refer to the memo that was sent to all parishes not using ParishSOFT in August 2021.

Office of Development and Stewardship

1. One-Time Gift Direct Mail Program

Parishes and schools can solicit one-time gifts through direct mail services to parishioners, donors, and friends. We develop the content (either a letter or a brochure), have them printed, and you tell us who to send them to! For more information, contact Luke Politsky at or 330-744-8451 x298.


2. In-Pew Offertory Envelopes

Enhance your evangelization and stewardship efforts with custom in-pew offertory envelopes to welcome visitors and invite them to share their gifts with the parish. For more information, contact Luke Politsky at or 330-744-8451 x298.


3. Endowments with the Diocese of Youngstown Foundation

You are invited to Leave a Legacy for your parish, Catholic school, or Catholic ministry by establishing a perpetual endowment fund within the Diocese of Youngstown Foundation. The income from these funds is available to the designated parish, school, or ministry, and is restricted to the purpose(s) which the donors establish. For more information, contact Luke Politsky at or 330-744-8451 x298.


4. Stewardship Thoughts for Parish Bulletins

March 2022 Vocations and Stewardship Thoughts/Intercessions for Parish Bulletins
(Stewardship Thoughts begin on third page) 

Pastoral and Educational Services
Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs


1. Lutheran-Catholic Covenant – April 3 Evening Prayer

The Lutheran-Catholic Covenant Commission invites you to an Ecumenical Evening Prayer celebrating the Lutheran Catholic Covenant, Sunday, April 3, 2022, 6:00p.m. at St. Columba Cathedral, Youngstown.  Bishop David Bonnar (Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown) is presiding, and Bishop Laura Barbins (Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) is preaching at this prayerful recommitment to the Covenant between our two bodies.

The Covenant signed October 29, 2000, between Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin and Lutheran Bishop Marcus Miller confesses the faith shared by Lutherans and Catholics and dedicates them to prayer, study, and action for Christian unity. 

Full Page Flyer (PDF)

Note: In addition to publicizing, we invite clergy and ministry leaders to join us in prayer as we launch the next era of our covenantal relationship. For more information, Catholic leaders are invited to please contact Catholic co-convenor Thomas Sauline, D.Min. ( or Rev. Shawn Conoboy, Ph.D. (, Diocesan Director of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.


2. Lutheran-Catholic Covenant Commission Lent 2022 Resource

Lent 2022 Resource: Lutheran-Catholic Covenant

The Lutheran-Catholic Covenant Commission invites Catholics and Lutherans to use the Lent 2022 Resources for Discussion and Reflection for personal or group prayer. You are welcome to reprint the copy ready edition of this ecumenical resource for praying the Sunday Readings Lent Cycle C.  

Office of Faith Formation and Lay Ecclesial Ministry

1. Orientation 301


New and nearly new Parish Ministers will gather on Thursday, March 10, 2022 for the third installment of the quarterly Orientation Series.  These skill building and networking opportunities are prepared by the Office of Faith Formation and Lay Ecclesial Ministry and the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.  Pastors with new parish ministers are asked to encourage their staff to participate.  Additional information is available and registration is requested.


2. Pastors Seeking Parish Ministers


Pastors hoping to hire new or additional staff persons in the areas of adult faith formation, youth ministry, young adult ministry, children and family formation, pastoral ministry, and other key areas of parish life are asked to contact Barbara Walko for assistance.  The office will provide assistance in posting available positions, screening applicants, preparation of a position description and compensation packages.


3. Resources to Implement Bishop Bonnar’s First Pastoral Letter


With Bishop Bonnar’s letter, “Testify to the Light” many parishes may embark on new or enhanced efforts in the five areas he has prioritized.  The Office of Faith Formation and Lay Ecclesial Ministry has curated a list of resources which may be reviewed on the home page of  Please feel free to contact the staff of the Office of Faith Formation and Lay Ecclesial Ministry to borrow these and other resources to develop Faith Formation and Pastoral processes.  The staff is anxious to help parishes design new initiatives to respond to the needs in the diverse church communities.


4. Lent and Easter Small Group Resources


Please visit to explore the variety of resources appropriate for small Christian communities during the seasons of Lent and Easter.  Many persons are eager to “do” something or learn a new spiritual exercise during Lent.  An opportunity to join a small group for Lent may springboard to an Easter season sharing group, too.  A variety of topics and many “how to” ideas are readily available.


5. Small Group Resources for Easter


Faces of Easter: Meeting the Paschal Mystery in the People Around Us. Albert Holtz. Liturgical Press, 2019. Using vignettes set in or near his monastery in downtown Newark, New Jersey, Benedictine monk Albert Holtz helps us to see that the Easter mystery, which can often seem abstract and distant, is in fact present all around us. As we accompany him through the fifty days of the Easter season, we listen in on his intriguing interactions with local street people and his inner-city high school students—an insider’s look at what goes on in a monk’s heart as he chants Vespers to the sound of police sirens. Anyone wishing to deepen his or her experience of the Easter mystery will find this a valuable and engaging book. 

The Tragic and Triumphant Cross. Stephen Binz. Twenty-Third Publications, 2005. The cross is both the world’s most contemptible instrument of punishment and the symbol of humanity’s greatest hope. In turning this tool of torture into his followers’ proudest boast, Jesus produced the most dramatic reversal the world has ever experienced. Worn around our necks, hung in our homes, carried in procession and set on mountaintops, the cross speaks to what we believe about Jesus and about how we understand our lives in relationship to him. This study plumbs the depths of Scripture for the horrible and glorious significance of the world’s most beloved symbol. Ideal for Lent and Easter seasons.

EL Credo: Un encuentro con la fe de la Iglesia. Hosffman Ospino. Ave Maria Press, 2017. Hosffman Ospino, a leading authority on Hispanic ministry in the United States, offers a short, accessible introduction to the Creed. Written in Spanish for Hispanic Catholics in the United States, El Credo explains the importance of the Creed, our faith in the Blessed Trinity, and how the Creed is central to the life of the Church.  El Credo is an invitation to journey into the beauty, truth, and depth of the Catholic faith presented in the Creed through the experience of being a Hispanic Catholic in the United States.

The Ministry of Peace and Justice. Michael Jordan Laskey. Liturgical Press, 2016. Pope Francis has said, “How I would like a Church that is poor and for the poor!” How might your parish answer the Holy Father’s call more boldly? The Ministry of Peace and Justice is a practical guide meant to help faith communities deepen their commitment to bringing God’s compassion to a wounded world. Intended for pastoral leaders and parishioners with a heart for those who are poor and vulnerable, this book includes creative suggestions for starting or expanding social efforts and contains six ready-to-use educational, interactive sessions for new or growing peace and justice committees.


6. Look into LIMEX!


Loyola University New Orleans offers degrees and certificates in Ministry and Theology Certificates and Degrees in an Extension Program. We are still gathering a local learning group for 2022, and it’s not too late to enter the process.  For additional information, contact Joan Lawson in the Office of Faith Formation and Lay Ecclesial Ministry, 330-744-8451 x290, or email  


7. Religious Education Certification for Catechists and Teachers


A listing of the Religious Education Certification Opportunities for Catechists and Teachers is available at Catechist Cafe.  Core courses, general courses, parish-sponsored, college/university-hosted, and other regional organizations are included in the list of online and onsite sessions. Visit . (CHECK THE PAGE OFTEN FOR LINKS TO FREE WEBINARS and ONLINE EVENTS FROM CATHOLIC UNIVERSITIES, ORGANIZATIONS, AND PUBLISHERS. NEWS IS ADDED WEEKLY.)


These diocesan online courses will begin soon:


Racism, the Catholic Church, and Me: A Look into Ourselves, GENERAL course, 10 hours 
February 28 – April 4, 2022

Online facilitator: Anne Weeks

Fee $27, includes book 


The Last Word of Jesus: Meditations on Love and Suffering, GENERAL course, 10 hours 
February 28 – April 4, 2022

Online facilitator: Joan Lawson

Fee $32, includes book 


Sowing God’s Word, CORE course, 10 hours 
March 7 – April 11, 2022

Online facilitator: Marcy Fessler

Fee $27, includes book 


Hope: A Virtue for Our Times, GENERAL course, 6 hours 
April 25 – May 16, 2022

Online facilitator: Joan Lawson

Fee $25, includes book 


The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts, GENERAL course, 12 hours 
April 25 – June 6, 2022

Online facilitator: Margie Hynes

Fee $30, includes book 


8. Online Learning Centers


These online learning centers have Spring offerings.  Contact the Office of Faith Formation and Lay Ecclesial Ministry for information about catechist certification hours for these and other courses, webinars, and other online catechist formation opportunities.  Visit CatechistCafe/For Catechists/Catechist Courses for connections to these learning centers and courses:


 STM Crossroads (Boston College School of Theology and Ministry) has registration open now for these courses:

  • Black Catholic Spirituality, begins March 9, for 4 weeks
  • Retiring Gracefully, begins March 9, for 5 weeks
  • The Church: People of God on a Mission, begins March 16, for 6 weeks
  • John in Holy Week and Easter, begins March 16, for 3 weeks
  • The Psalms: Prayers for All Times, begins April 13, for 5 weeks


 VLCFF (Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation) from the University of Dayton has registration open now, closing March 2, for these courses running March 7 – April 10 , for more than 35 courses, including these:

  • Administration in Ministry
  • Images of Jesus
  • Galatians
  • Introduction to the Sacraments of Initiation
  • Liturgical Books


The  University of Notre Dame Satellite Theological Program newest courses will begin in April and will include:

  • The American Catholic Experience
  • Introduccion al Antiguo Testamento
  • Liturgical Music: A Historical, Musical, and Pastoral Survey
  • Mariología: María en la Vida de la Iglesia
  • Mary as Mother: A Symbol of Life and Hope for Christians


8. Online Learning Centers


These online learning centers have February and March offerings.  Contact the Office of Religious Education for information about catechist certification hours for these and other courses, webinars, and other online catechist formation opportunities.  Visit CatechistCafe/For Catechists/Catechist Courses for connections to these learning centers and courses:


STM Crossroads (Boston College School of Theology and Ministry) has registration open now for these courses:

  • Ignatian Spirituality, begins February 9, for six weeks
  • Lent 2022: Reflecting Together, begins February 23, for 6 weeks
  • Sacraments: The Fabric of Catholic life, begins February 23, for 5 weeks


VLCFF (Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation) from the University of Dayton has registration open now, closing March 2, for more than 35 courses running March 7 – April 10, including these:

  • Church History 2
  • Disabilities in Parish Life: An Overview
  • Galatians
  • Introduction to Pastoral Care
  • Mary in Scripture and Tradition


The University of Notre Dame Satellite Theological Program has registration open now for 11 courses that begin February 21 , including these:

  • In God’s Image: The Mystery of Creation
  • Faith and Science: Origin and Belief
  • On Prayer
  • Liturgical Theology
  • The Reformation


Office of Pro-Life, Marriage, and Family Life

1. Marriage Preparation Engaged Couple Retreat Day

The next diocesan-sponsored one-day marriage preparation retreat days for engaged couples will be held Saturdays, March 5 and April 9 both in the social hall at St. Columba Cathedral. Reservations are required. Registration information may be found at; go to the “Ministries” drop-down menu and press on “Pro-Life, Marriage & Family Life.”

PLEASE NOTE: The Engaged Couple Retreat originally scheduled for May 7 has been moved up to April 30.


UPDATED 2022 BROCHURE (Two-sides):
MarriagePrepBrochure-1 MarriagePrepBrochure-2


List of Marriage Preparation Formation Opportunities including neighboring dioceses: Marriage Preparation Formation Opportunities


For more information on this, and other opportunities for marriage preparation formation, contact or 330-744-8451, ext.272.



2. Culture Project: The Dignity of Human Life

Men and Women United for Life, a pro-life group in the Diocese of Youngstown, together with the diocesan offices of Youth & Young Adult Ministry and Pro-Life, Marriage & Family Life is sponsoring an evening of Prayer and Presentations on Sunday, April 24, at 6:30 pm in St. Charles Church, Boardman. Young adult missionaries from the Culture Project will present a multimedia presentation on the Dignity of Human Life. Fr. Ryan Furlong will lead the congregation in prayer and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Praise music will be led by Christian Pinto. All teens and adults are welcome to attend. For more information contact

The Culture Project is an initiative of young people set out to restore culture through the experience of virtue. You can find out more about these dedicated young adults by going to their website,


3. Wedding Anniversary Celebration – Date Changed to May 8

Couples observing their 25th, 40th, 50th and over wedding anniversaries will be honored at a wedding anniversary celebration at St. Columba Cathedral on Sunday, May 8, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. The celebration includes Mass with Bishop Bonnar, renewal of marriage vows, a personalized certificate for each couple, followed by a simple reception for the couples and their families. A second anniversary celebration will take place at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist Church in Canton on Sunday, October 16, 2022; at 2:00 p.m. Registration information for the May celebration will be sent to parishes by the beginning of March. When registering for the Wedding Anniversary Celebration couples may opt not to attend the Mass in person, but participate remotely via live-streaming, and request that their certificate be mailed to them. For more information contact 330-744-8451ext.272 or



4. Save the Date:

Faith & Family Festival on Sunday, September 25 at Walsh University.

For more information contact Dave Schmidt at or 330-744-8451  ext.272.



5. Intercessions for Life and Pro-Life Bulletin Briefs

Recommended intercessions and bulletin briefs for March, prepared by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, may be found at


6. Project Rachel Outreach – March Message for Bulletin/Newsletter:

There is no sin, including abortion, that is greater than God’s forgiveness. There is Hope and Healing available. For CONFIDENTIAL help text or call Project Rachel of Northeast Ohio at 330-360-0430 or go to



7. Pray for Dobbs

Although the U.S. Supreme Court has already heard the oral arguments in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities continues to encourage participation in “Pray for Dobbs.” This Supreme Court case could impact the fate of millions of preborn children and their mothers, and their decision is not expected until this summer. Join thousands of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christians uniting in prayer and fasting! Learn more and sign up for updates at

The website also contains resources, such as announcements, images, flyers and action ideas to promote this unique opportunity to unite in prayer.


8. New Resource for Ministering to Families

The Office of Pro-Life, Marriage and Family Life had the pleasure of collaborating with neighboring dioceses to create Family Love: A Vocation & A Path to Holiness A Toolkit to Celebrate Families. This resource for parishes may be helpful as we draw close to the Tenth Meeting of Families in Rome (June 22-26) and continue to celebrate the Year of “Amoris Laetitia” Family. The toolkit can be found on the website of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers at

Additional resources may be found on the USCCB website at and on a special Vatican website at

For more information contact or 330-744-8451 ext. 272.


Office of Worship

1. Ash Wednesday / Lenten Season Regulations

The Season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, March 2, 2022.  Parishes within the diocese will return to the regular familiar way for the imposition of ashes this year saying the formula as it appears in the Roman Missal and signing individuals on the forehead.  Ashes may not be self-imposed; they are always given by a minister.

The reception of ashes is not mandatory or an obligation.  The faithful should be reminded it is their own internal disposition and intention to repent and start over that is the best fruit of Ash Wednesday.  Ashes are an external sign of that internal reality.  They may enter into Lent with a repentant heart even if they decide that receiving ashes is not the right thing for them this year.


All Catholics are encouraged to participate in the traditional Lenten practice of prayer, sacrifice, and almsgiving.  Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence – one full meal and two smaller meals for persons 18 thru 59 years of age; no meat for persons 14 years and older.  All Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence – no meat for persons 14 years and older.  There is no obligation to fast during the weekdays of Lent; however voluntary acts of self-denial are encouraged.


2. Rite of Election – March 6, 2022

The Rite of Election of Catechumens and the Call to Continued Conversion of Candidates will take place on the First Sunday of Lent, March 6, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. at Saint Columba Cathedral.  This year the Rite of Election will include catechumens and candidates along with sponsors and parish RCIA team members. 


3. Chrism Mass – April 12, 2022

The Chrism Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. in Saint Columba Cathedral.  There will be no attendance restrictions this year and information letters and details will be sent in the coming weeks.


4. Easter Vigil – April 16, 2022 — Universal Diocesan Starting Time

The Easter Vigil will be on Saturday, April 16, 2022.  The Roman Missal states that, “the entire celebration of the Easter Vigil must take place during the night, so that it begins after nightfall…”  Furthermore, the Priest Policy Handbook states that the Easter Vigil “is not to take place at the time of the ordinary anticipated Mass for Sunday,” (cf. Faculties and Permissions, Section V, pg. 10).  In the Diocese of Youngstown, sunset on April 16, 2022, will be at 8:03 p.m. and the end of civil twilight will be at 8:32 p.m.  It is current diocesan policy that the starting time for the Easter Vigil throughout the diocese be at 8:00 p.m. or later.  This starting time respects the current liturgical guidelines and diocesan policy.  Furthermore it makes the Easter Vigil distinctive from the ordinary anticipated Mass for Sunday and alleviates any confusion among parishes.  Therefore the Easter Vigil is not to begin before 8:00 p.m.  Please note that because daylight savings time begins each year in early March, the recommended start time of Easter Vigil will never be before 8 p.m. 


5. Confirmation of Baptized Catholics at the Easter Vigil

Priests are reminded that the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults gives them the faculty to confirm catechumens and candidates at the Easter Vigil.  However, if there are persons who are baptized Catholic and completing their initiation at the Easter Vigil, the pastor must request permission of Bishop David J. Bonnar to confirm them.  A letter of request stating the names of only those individuals who were baptized Catholic and who will be confirmed at the Easter Vigil should be sent to the Bishop’s Office as soon as possible.


6. Liturgical Directory

The Liturgical Directory contains valuable information about Liturgy Committees; liturgical minister formation guidelines; guidelines for the celebration of sacraments; music in liturgical celebrations; and art and architecture directives.  The directory can be accessed and downloaded from the diocesan website by clicking on “Worship” under the “Ministries” tab.

Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry

1. Eagle of the Cross Nominations have been received. They will be examined soon.  Please contact Fr. Ryan Furlong for more details.  World Youth Day 2023 will be here before we know it.  It is summer of 2023.  We will have many events here in the diocese.  If anyone is interested in sending young adults please contact Fr. Ryan Furlong so we can begin the planning before Easter of 2022.


2. Fr. Ryan is putting together a team of advisors from each county to plan and collaborate on events for each county. If you are interested in being on this committee and meeting regularly (at least once a month) please contact him. 


3. Several “Eucharistic Processions for Life will be held throughout the diocese.  The day will include food, prayer, adoration and confession and a Eucharistic Procession.  The events will be held at various parishesThis event will focus specifically on grades 8-12 and young adults, however ALL ARE WELCOME!


4. The Comprehensive Youth Ministry presentation has been uploaded and sent to youth and young adult ministers, please check out this great presentation.


5. The Frassati fellowship young adult night of prayer will be held on the first and third Monday’s of the month, at St. Dominic Parish in Youngstown, Ohio.  All parishes, please advise all your young adults of this monthly night of prayer and fellowship. 



Diocesan Cemeteries

Flyer: Divine Mercy Chaplet at Cemeteries
(or see text below)

Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services of the Diocese of Youngstown will be offering The Chaplet of Divine Mercy Prayer Service in the chapels of our 4 Cemeteries at 3:00 every Friday at alternating locations.


First Friday of the month at Calvary Cemetery Chapel in Youngstown.

Second Friday of the month at Resurrection Cemetery Chapel in Austintown.

Third Friday of the month at All Souls Cemetery Chapel in Cortland.

Fourth Friday of the month at Calvary Cemetery Chapel in Massillon.




Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services of the Diocese of Youngstown offers, at no charge, to anyone, of any faith, who has cremated remains at home or  unclaimed cremated remains at a funeral home or other facility, a dignified prayer service and committal of the cremated remains at any of our 4 Diocesan Cemeteries; All Souls Cemetery in Cortland, Calvary Cemetery in Massillon, Calvary Cemetery in Youngstown and Resurrection Cemetery in Austintown.  Please call us if you have any questions at 330 792-4721.

Walsh University

Submitted and distributed through the diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry


Please see the below for a graphic in Spanish, and a flyer in English (full page). This event includes information for special grants and scholarships for Hispanic, LatinX, and other minority students.

Flyer: WalshMulticulturalFullPage


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