February 7, 2022
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YOUNGSTOWN, OH — The Most Reverend David J. Bonnar, Bishop of Youngstown, announces the appointment of Rev. Shawn Conoboy, Ph.D., as Director of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Diocese of Youngstown, effective immediately. Father Conoboy will remain pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Aurora, Ohio, where he has served since 2019.
In December 2021, Father Conoboy received a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Duquesne University. He previously earned an STB (Sacred Theology Bachelors, equivalent to a Master of Divinity) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and a specialized STL (Sacred Theology Licentiate) in Spiritual Theology from the Teresianum, Pontifical Institute for Spirituality.
Father Conoboy was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Youngstown in 2006 and has been a member of ecumenical and interreligious clergy associations at his various assignments as a priest. Before being appointed pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, he served previously at St. Charles Parish in Boardman (as Parochial Vicar), Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in Campbell (as Parochial Vicar, and then as Pastor), Holy Family Parish in Brewster and Navarre (as sacramental minister), and at St. Mary and St. Joseph Parish in Newton Falls (as administrator).
Since 2007, Father Conoboy has been a member of the Youngstown-Warren Chapter of the Society of St. John Chrysostom, an ecumenical association of clergy and lay people organized for the purpose of promoting an understanding of Eastern Christianity. Since 2008, he has served the interdenominational efforts of Hartville Migrant Ministry, including celebrating Mass in Spanish.
Father Conoboy succeeds Rev. Joseph Witmer, who served as the Diocese of Youngstown’s Ecumenical Officer since 1971, except for eight years when he served in the national office of ecumenism for the U.S. Bishops, and Rev. George Balasko, who has served as the diocese’s interreligious officer and is recognized locally and nationally for Jewish-Christian dialogue.
Bishop Bonnar says, “Thanks to the over half century of commitment of Father Joseph Witmer and Father George Balasko, the Diocese of Youngstown has been a leader in the efforts of Ecumenism and Interreligious relations. There is a solid foundation in place for Father Conoboy to keep the tradition going as a pastor, teacher, and theologian. I am grateful for Fr. Witmer and Fr. Balasko’s accomplishments and excited about the zeal and possibilities that Fr. Conoboy brings to this endeavor.”
Father Conoboy comments, “The divisions among Christians and in the human family are a wound that needs healing. In this position, I am glad to join the efforts of the Church to help heal that wound.”