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St. Francis of Assisi Parish Established – Merger of St. Anthony/All Saints and St. Mary/St. Benedict Parishes in Canton

PRESS RELEASE

June 18, 2023

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

After a period of consultation among parish representatives and review of pastoral statistics, The Most Rev. David J. Bonnar, Bishop of Youngstown, has accepted the recommendation of Very Rev. Thomas Kraszewski, V.F., pastor of St. Anthony/All Saints Parish and St. Mary/St. Benedict Parish, Canton, along with Deacon Randy Smith, Diocesan Pastoral Associate at St. Mary/St. Benedict Parish, and the pastoral and financial councils of both parishes, to merge the two parishes, effective July 1, 2023. In accordance with Church law, the decision was made after having also heard the advice of the diocese’s presbyteral council, which was favorable and unanimous. The parish’s church buildings will retain their names, as customary in Church tradition, while the parish itself will be known as “St. Francis of Assisi Parish.”

Bishop Bonnar chose the new parish name from among three names put forth by parishioners. In a letter read to parishioners this weekend announcing the merger, Bishop Bonnar wrote, ”With St. Francis as your patron, I encourage you to follow his example in caring for the poor and fostering dialogue among diverse cultures and peoples, which I know is already a strength of both parishes.”

Bishop Bonnar also expressed his gratitude to Father Kraszewski, Deacon Randy Smith, and parishioners for being “proactive in embracing a regionalized approach to Catholic life, with a wise use of personnel and financial resources, a coordinated Mass schedule, new unfolding possibilities for missionary activity and a sense of being one family in Christ.”

Effective July 1, 2023, Father Kevin Peters will become the new pastor of both St. Francis of Assisi Parish and Holy Family Parish in Navarre and Brewster, and also Diocesan Director of Rural Life and Ministry. Father Frederick (“Fritz”) Schuleter, who was ordained on June 17 at St. Columba Cathedral, will become parochial vicar for both parishes. Father Kraszewski and Deacon Smith will take on new ministry assignments in the diocese.

Building upon the 2019 Pastoral Plan promulgated by the late Bishop George Murry, the Diocese of Youngstown continues to develop a regional plan for its six-county diocese, with an emphasis on developing effective ministries and supporting missionary activity. Criteria include the number of parishioners and worshipers, parish finances, effective use of buildings and effective use of priests and lay ecclesial ministers.

See also: Official Decree

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