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Very Rev. Kevin Peters Appointed Diocesan Director of Rural Life and Ministry

Renewed office will provide spiritual and social justice support to farmers and rural families


June 29, 2023

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

The Most Rev. David J. Bonnar, Bishop of Youngstown, is pleased to announce the appointment of Very Rev. Kevin Peters, V.F., as Director of Rural Life and Ministry for the Diocese of Youngstown, effective July 1, 2023. Effective on the same date, Father Peters has also been appointed as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Canton (the merger of St. Anthony/All Saints and St. Mary/St. Benedict parishes), and Holy Family Parish in Navarre and Brewster, as well as dean of Stark County West.

As Director of the Office of Rural Life and Ministry, Father Peters will lead the diocese’s renewed efforts to support farmers and rural families throughout its six counties (Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Trumbull). Father Peters will work in collaboration with county farm bureaus and fair boards, and his office will help identify basic spiritual and social justice needs in rural communities. Guided by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, the Office of Rural Life and Ministry will also be actively involved in legislative matters that impact farming practices, food chain issues and food supply for the poor and underfed. The Office of Rural Life and Ministry will enhance the diocese’s efforts to positively impact both Catholics and the wider community, working closely with the Diocesan Director of Peace and Justice and the Catholic Conference of Ohio.

As a priest and pastor, Father Peters has been committed to serving the needs of local and civic communities, including regularly celebrating Mass at the Canfield Fair in Mahoning County and participating in the work of the diocese’s prison ministries. He welcomed his assignment as Director of Rural Life and Ministry, saying, “I am an inner-city pastor who respects the land and those who work the land, and I am inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ on the environment and care for our common home. I feel blessed, honored and privileged to serve in this capacity.”

Bishop Bonnar comments, “I am grateful to Father Peters for taking on this important new role, which will help us better serve rural communities that are so important in our diocese. Father Peters is a true shepherd who cares about the real lives of people and has a passion for justice.”

In addition to his new assignments, Father Peters has most recently served as pastor of St. Angela Merici Parish and St. Patrick Parish, in Youngstown, and as chaplain of Ursuline High School, completing those assignments in June 2023. Previously, he served as pastor of Immaculate Conception and Sacred Heart of Jesus parishes in Youngstown (overseeing their merger into St. Angela Merici Parish), and as pastor of Mother of Sorrows Parish in Ashtabula (which later merged into Our Lady of Peace Parish). He has also served as parochial vicar for the parishes of St. Joan of Arc, Canton, St. Nicholas, Struthers, and St. Christine, Youngstown. He also served as a chaplain in the United States Navy Chaplain Corps from 1998 to 2000.

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