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Diaconate Ordinations for Seminarians Preparing for the Priesthood

St Columba Cathedral in Youngstown


June 2, 2022

SUBJECT: Diaconate Ordinations for Seminarians Preparing for the Priesthood

MORE INFO AND MEDIA COORDINATION SERVICES: Justin Huyck, Coordinator of Media Relations, (330) 744-8451, ext. 320;

YOUNGSTOWN, OH — On Saturday, June 4, 2022, the Most Rev. David J. Bonnar, Bishop of Youngstown, will ordain four seminarians as transitional deacons for the Diocese of Youngstown. The ordination liturgy will take place at the Cathedral of Saint Columba in Youngstown at 10:30 a.m., and can also be viewed online at

Following ordination, each of the four men – Brook Benedict, Robert England, John Rovnak, and Frederick (“Fritz”) Schlueter – will be assigned to serve at a diocesan parish while they finish their final year of formation in anticipation of expected ordination to the priesthood. Their assignments will be announced during the ordination Mass. [Update: Please see here for assignments]

Additionally, in the Fall, John Rovnak and Fritz Schlueter will return to Saint Mary Seminary in Cleveland, and Robert England will return to Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to complete their priestly studies. Brook Benedict received his Master of Divinity, as well as an M.A. in Theology, from Saint Mary Seminary in May 2022.

Mr. Benedict, the son of Gary “Mousey” and Linda Benedict, grew up in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ashtabula, now part of Our Lady of Peace Parish. In addition to Saint Mary Seminary, he is a graduate of Saints John and Paul High School (now Saint John School), and the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He is also a liturgical musician and pursued organ studies at Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music.

Mr. England, a son of Robert and Sandra England, is a native of Clarksburg, West Virginia, but moved with his family to Poland, Ohio and grew up at Struthers St. Nicholas Parish (now Christ Our Savior Parish). He is a graduate of Poland public schools, including Poland Seminary High School, took classes at Youngstown State University, and worked in the water treatment industry for about twenty years. In addition to his current studies at Saint Vincent Seminary in Pennsylvania, his preparation for ministry has included bachelor’s degree studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, as well as Cardinal Stritch University, both in Wisconsin.

Mr. Rovnak, youngest son of Tom and Janice Rovnak, is a parishioner of Youngstown Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, and was raised at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Church. He attended St. Matthias School, Lowellville High School, and graduated with a business degree from Youngstown State University. He worked for several companies before his studies at Saint Mary Seminary in Cleveland as a seminarian for the Diocese of Youngstown. As a seminarian, he has also completed studies in clinical pastoral education at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Pittsburgh.

Mr. Schlueter, son of Frederick and Lori Schlueter, grew up at Salem St. Paul Parish. He attended St. Paul School and West Branch High School and began college at the University of Dallas before transferring to the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus as a seminarian for the Diocese of Youngstown, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy. With Mr. Rovnak, he will return to Saint Mary Seminary in Cleveland this Fall.

Separately, on June 18th at 10:30am, at St. Columba Cathedral, the Diocese of Youngstown will also celebrate the ordination of Deacon Connor Hetzel to the priesthood. A separate press release is forthcoming.


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