• on November 28, 2021

Merger of St. John Paul II and St. Mary Parishes, Warren (News Release and Decree)

FOR RELEASE:  Immediate     DATE SENT:  November 28, 2021

SUBJECT:  Merger of Saint John Paul II Parish and St. Mary Parish, Warren

MORE INFO:  Justin Huyck, Media Relations (330) 744-8451, ext. 320; Mobile: (330) 718-0408

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO – The Most Rev. David J. Bonnar, Bishop of Youngstown has accepted the recommendation of Rev. Frantisek Katrinak, pastor of Saint John Paul II Parish and St. Mary Parish in Warren, Ohio, along with members of the pastoral and finance councils of both parishes, to merge the two parishes, effective November 28, 2021.

After extensive consultation, Father Katrinak and the pastoral and finance councils of both parishes formally submitted signed petitions to Bishop Bonnar that the parishes be merged. In his November 10, 2021 letter to Bishop Bonnar, Father Katrinak noted that the parishes have reviewed pastoral statistics and the financial picture of St. John Paul II Parish, which includes the impact of the pandemic, an aging and largely retired parish on fixed incomes, and parish expenditures consistently exceeding revenue. Father Katrinak also explained that St. John Paul II parishioners have made multiple attempts to financially respond to the needs of the parish, but that efforts are insufficient to maintain a long-term solution. Finally, he noted that for the past two years, many parishioners from both churches are already treating the two parishes as one, attending Mass at either church.

In accordance with Canon 515.2 of the Code of Canon Law, the petitions were reviewed by the diocese’s presbyteral council. Bishop Bonnar also had the matter reviewed by diocesan canon lawyers. Presbyteral Council unanimously affirmed the request. At liturgies on November 28, parishioners were informed that Bishop Bonnar had accepted the recommendation and, through formal decree, announced the merger. The parish’s offices will be at St. Mary’s.

St. John Paul II Parish was established in 2011 out of the merger of three previous Warren parishes: St. Joseph, Christ Our King, and St. Pius X. In accepting the recommendation, Bishop Bonnar praised parishioners, noting that “your parish, and your former parishes, have lived the mission of the Church for many years. I want to commend you now for paying attention to the means needed for mission as the Church steps into the future. We have to live in reality; we cannot give what we do not have.”

St. Mary Parish was established in 1835 (with the present church built in 1907). Bishop Bonnar also expressed his gratitude to St. Mary’s parishioners, “Pope Francis has invited us to be a Church that journeys together, and this is what you are doing with this merger. As your shepherd, I am committed to your care so that the people of Warren and the entire Diocese might find new ways to journey together and proclaim the Joy of the Gospel.   

The Diocese of Youngstown is currently engaged in a pastoral planning process which involves all parishes in its six counties. The current process was initiated by the late Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., who issued a written pastoral plan in 2019. Bishop David Bonnar continues to implement that plan and respond to new petitions, as in the case of St. John Paul II and St. Mary parishes.

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