The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown celebrates the past with an eye toward tomorrow
By Adam Burroughs
The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown is continuing to do what it has always done—spread the news of God throughout the six-county area it serves. But 75 years after its inception, the organization is finding ways to persist in its mission and look to the future.
The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown includes 87 parishes, 22 elementary schools and six high schools. Through these assets and their various religious education programs, it serves some 140,000 registered Catholics in 66,000 households.
“Members of individual parishes in the Diocese of Youngstown receive spiritual inspiration and guidance from their parish through Masses and other liturgies, spiritual support groups, retreats, educational programming, Bible studies, speaker series programs and missions, among many other ministries and programs,” says Patrick “Pat” Kelly, CFO of The Diocese of Youngstown. “Members also benefit from being a part of a Christian community of acceptance, where they can experience God’s love in a social setting of fellowship that promotes goodwill toward all people.”
Honing its focus
In 2010, the diocese began a reconfiguration process to address a declining population. Kelly says the diocese has worked with parishes to increase collaboration by sharing directors of religious education and support staff, having a single priest serve multiple churches and asking employees to be a resource to multiple locations.
That has allowed it to focus more sharply on the needs of the community.
“Diocesan priests, deacons, and men and women in religious orders in the diocese extend Christ’s mission into the community by ministering in health care through Mercy Health locations at St. Elizabeth and St. Joseph hospitals, and Mercy Medical Center,” says Kelly. “They also work in education in the diocese, social services ministries—notably through the Beatitude House and its associated services—and the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality. They evangelize and spread the good news of the gospel through Catholic television and radio programming.”
The diocese also aids the needy through its Catholic Charities Corp. with emergency assistance, food, clothing, shelter, comprehensive senior support programming, a domestic violence shelter, clothing drives, fundraisers and outreach. Additionally, the organization ministers to immigrant and migrant populations and supports pregnant women and families.
Kelly says it also sponsors local youth ministry programs, and young adult groups are engaged in missions to benefit the less fortunate by spreading the gospel through their service of physical labor.
“They minister at area nursing homes, animal charities and through community meals, and engage with community groups including Youngstown CityScape and Iron and String Life Enhancement programs that benefit adults with disabilities,” he says.
Looking to the future
This year, the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown is turning 75 and celebrating with events reflecting on its history, with the theme, “With Pride in the Past, and Faith in the Future.”
The celebration includes a traveling display of the history of the diocese, historical videos of the diocese and cathedral and a lecture series on the diocese’s history.
Ursuline Sister Regina Rogers will speak at various venues on “The History, Role, Contributions and Future of Religious Communities of Women in the Diocese of Youngstown,” and Hosffman Ospino, Ph.D., professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College, will address “What Does it Mean to be Catholic Today?” and “Effective Leadership and Ministry in Today’s Diverse Church.”
Also in celebration of its 75th anniversary, the diocese has launched its new website, www.doy.org, to unite parishes, parishioners and their communities. The website relays more efficient and effective communication about the diocesan offices, programming, ministries, education and services. And while the effort has contributed to the diocesan brand, that brand doesn’t necessarily trickle down to individual parishes.
“As each parish operates under the leadership of its pastor or parish leader, and ministers to local parishioners with diverse backgrounds and needs, the unique brand of each is determined by the community it is based in,” says Kelly. “As a universal church, embracing and celebrating the diverse qualities of each faith community is highlighted in order to minister to that community most effectively, based upon its strengths, needs and gifts.”
The 75th anniversary celebration kicked off May 20 at St. Columba Cathedral and will continue through June 2019.
A trusted name
CFO Patrick “Pat” Kelly says the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown has a longstanding relationship with Huntington, using its checking and investment services for some of its investment accounts.
“They are definitely a financial institution of choice of many of our parishes and schools in terms of obtaining loans for various capital projects at parishes and schools throughout the diocese,” he says.
Huntington, he says, has been helpful to parishes as they secure the financing they need to fulfill their individual missions.
“Huntington has come through for building parish halls, school gymnasiums and a lot of extensive parish remodeling,” he says. “They have been there as a trusted source for financing these types of improvements.”
Kelly says he stays with Huntington because of the ease of doing business with the bank and the professional services of the people that the diocese deals with.
“Huntington is a trusted name throughout the diocese,” he says.
For more information, visit doy.org.