Discover the Diocese of Youngstown

The Diocese of Youngstown (LatinDioecesis Youngstonensis) is a particular church or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, consisting of six counties in Northeast OhioMahoningTrumbullColumbianaStarkPortage, and Ashtabula.

As of 2003, the Diocese of Youngstown has 116 parishes, 158 Diocesan Priests, 22 Religious Priests, 68 Permanent Deacons, 45 Religious Men, 229 Religious Women. As of 2010, the diocese has 8 seminarians studying at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus and at Mount St. Mary's Seminary of the West in Cincinnati. There are approximately 250,000 Catholics within the diocesan limits.


The Diocese of Youngstown was created from the Diocese of Cleveland in 1943 by Pope Pius XII. Bishop James A. McFadden (formerauxiliary bishop of Cleveland) was named its first bishop and St. Columba Church on Wood Street in downtown Youngstown became theCathedral. The new diocese comprised 3,404 square miles (8,820 km2) and featured 110 churches, three hospitals run by religious institutes, 54 parochial elementary schools, one parochial junior high school, and three Catholic high schools.
When Bishop McFadden died on November 16, 1952, Emmet M. Walsh became the new bishop. Walsh had been named Coadjutor Bishop and was formerly the Bishop of CharlestonSouth Carolina. In 1954, St. Columba Cathedral was destroyed by a fire. Bishop Walsh undertook the task of building a new cathedral, which was dedicated in 1958. St. Patrick Church on the south side of Youngstown became the Pro-Cathedral until the new St. Columba Cathedral was ready.
In 1962, when Pope John XXIII convened the Vatican Council II, Bishop Walsh and his Auxiliary Bishop, James W. Malone, attended the council in the Vatican Basilica of St. Peter. Upon the illness of Bishop Walsh, Bishop Malone was named Apostolic Administrator; after Bishop Walsh died on March 16, 1968, Bishop Malone was named the Bishop of Youngstown on May 2, 1968. Bishop Malone was the Bishop of Youngstown for almost thirty years; Bishop William A. Hughes (later Bishop Emeritus of Covington, Kentucky) was his auxiliary for several years.
Following Bishop Hughes' appointment to Covington, Bishop Benedict Franzetta was named the Auxiliary of Youngstown. In 1996, Bishop Malone reached the age at which bishops must turn in their resignation. Bishop Thomas J. Tobin was named his successor and was installed as Bishop of Youngstown on February 2, 1996. Bishop Franzetta, who retired on September 4, 1996, died on September 26, 2006. On March 31, 2005, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Tobin as Bishop of ProvidenceRhode Island. On 30 January 2007,Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop George Murry, S.J. as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown.
On May 28, 2010, Bishop George Vance Murry, S.J. announced the plan for the reconfiguration of parishes. The number of parishes will be reduced to 87 over the next two years.


Politically speaking the City of Youngstown and surrounding areas were traditionally strongholds for the Democratic Party. However, the northern counties comprising the Diocese of Youngstown often supported Republican politicians, especially for the U.S. Congress.
From 1950 to 1973, the stated interests of the diocese politically were often local interests and aligned somewhat with labor unions and what had been a traditional Democratic, blue-collar political base, although the rural districts of the diocese tended to support more conservative political perspectives. After 1973, U.S. Catholics began to transition from their traditional allegiances to the Democratic Party and seek out political candidates that supported Catholic perspectives on the need to protect human life; these were often Republicans.

Education initiatives

In an interesting departure from traditional party lines, school choice initiatives were strongly supported by the diocese, including Ohio’s Fair Bus law (passed by the Ohio House, July 30, 1965; enacted 1966 see Cleveland Plain Dealer archives.)
Like other Ohio dioceses, the Diocese of Youngstown also supported other initiatives at the state and federal level to provide equity to students and families enrolled in Catholic schools, including busing, textbooks, and participation in federally subsidized school lunch and other programs.
Legal challenges to Ohio’s Fair Bus Law arose but these challenges were declared unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court (1968–1970), which cited Ohio’s state constitution which assures the fair treatment of all students in the state.
Tuition programs that were enacted at the state level in the late 1960s and early 1970s did not survive legal challenges. However, later initiatives for students in poorly performing school districts were enacted and survived legal challenges.

Social justice and subsidized housing

In pursuit of social justice efforts, the diocese supported efforts in the 1980s to construct subsidized housing—especially in the northern counties of the diocese, where it was often unneeded to serve the needs of the existing populace—as well as to expand federally subsidized Section 8 housing programs. This efforts served to temporarily boost the economies of local builders but accelerated the urbanization of some areas without a renewal of infrastructure or a growth in economic base to support the services such a population would require.
As a result, by 2005, over 70% of the housing units in Ashtabula County were not owner-occupied.
Politically this policy ensured that Democratic candidates for federal office would have a larger voter base in areas that previously had elected Republicans to the US Congress, while also significantly changing the demographics and education levels of the electorate.

Nuclear disarmament

In the mid 1980s, Bishop Malone became president of the USCCB. Under his leadership, the USCCB issued a major policy statement condemning the nuclear armament stockpiles held by the United States and supporting unilateral disarmament by the United States, despite an aggressive and hostile Soviet military threat. The USCCB’s position was that funds spent on defense should be invested instead in domestic programs. U.S. President Ronald Reagan ignored criticisms from the USCCB and pursued a military build-up.
Many steel mills in Youngstown, Ohio closed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Economic pressures continued to affect Catholic institutions in the diocese, resulting in lowered school enrollments for diocesan schools. In addition, population left the region to pursue better opportunities in other areas of the United States. Demographically, the population of Ohio in general became statistically older as more young people left the state after college graduation.



Auxiliary bishops


Elementary and Middle Schools

The Diocese of Youngstown operates the following elementary/middle schools (Grades PreK-8 unless otherwise noted):

Most of the elementary/middle schools within Stark County are part of a singular system named Holy Cross Academy ( The Academy is composed of 11 campuses:

In 2013, as part of the Academy's "Transition for Growth" plan, the Diocese announced that St. Joseph Canton would close after the 2013-2014 school year, and Saint Peter and Saint Louis will be turned into "Family Preschool Centers" only. The three schools conducted an appeal process in order to keep them open as PreK-8 schools. On February 27th., 2014, the Diocese announced the results of the appeal ( Within the report, it was announced that the St. Joseph Canton Canton campus will still close at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. For the 2014-2015 school year, the St. Peter and St. Louis campuses will remain open, but serving only grades PreK-5th. The Regina Coeli/St. Joseph and Our Lady of Peace campuses will also serve only grades PreK-5th. The 6th.-8th. grade students within the diocese will be served by a new Middle School operating on the campus of St. Thomas Aquinas High School.

High Schools

* Independently operated with blessing of diocese.
There is also one Catholic university within the diocese- Walsh University in North Canton.

Catholic radio serving the Diocese

Both stations air programming from EWTN Global Catholic Radio and offer online audiostreaming for night time listeners and those outside their respective signal areas.

Catholic radio online and Smart Phone webstreaming outside the Diocese

Offered from the website of :

Profile of the Diocese
The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown was established on May 15, 1943, and was canonically erected on July 22, 1943. Located in Northeast Ohio, the diocese includes six counties; Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Trumbull. This area totals 3,404 square miles.

Catholic Charities Services meet the needs of those less fortunate through social service agencies, housing assistance, prison ministry, care for the aged, and more.
For those with medical needs, three Catholic hospitals serve patients' physical and spiritual needs.
The diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Exponent, reaches 36,000 homes.
At the Central Services, or Chancery Office, departments with 90 employees, including clergy, religious and lay, serve the needs of the people of the Church of Youngstown by offering programs, services and information to parishes and parishioners. These needs range from providing basic information to implementing religious education programs, to providing insurance coverage for parishes and institutions.

Mission Statement

We are people of God in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown. Blessed with a rich variety of backgrounds and talents, we are a living reflection of the Universal Church.
Through our baptism, we continue Christ's mission to further the kingdom of God through the human family.
We share our living faith by proclaiming the Gospel in word and example. Together we celebrate Christ's presence in worship and sacraments.
In a spirit of justice, mercy and love, we dedicate ourselves not only to minister to the people in the six counties of northeastern Ohio but also to minister to the world community.

History of the Diocese
The Diocese of Youngstown was established on May 15, 1943. Six northeastern counties in the state of Ohio were taken from the Diocese of Cleveland and were formed into the Diocese of Youngstown. It was the pastoral needs of the people in 1943 that made the new diocese necessary. There were approximately 150,000 Catholics in the 98 parishes and their numbers were growing rapidly. Today the Catholic population has grown to over 198,000 people in 94 parishes and one mission.

The Diocese of Youngstown, which incorporates 3,404 square miles in seven deaneries, is comprised of Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Trumbull counties.

St. Columba Church was designated as the diocesan cathedral and offices were set up on the second floor of the building next to it on Wood Street. Personnel numbered five: the bishop, a chancellor, vice-chancellor, secretary, and bookkeeper. Today the diocese's Central Offices are housed in two buildings with approximately 80 people working in some 30 different ministries.

The Most Reverend James A. McFadden was appointed the first Bishop of Youngstown on June 2, 1943. Following his death on November 16, 1953, the Most Reverend Emmet M. Walsh succeeded him. On March 24, 1960, the diocese's first native son, the Most Reverend James W. Malone, was installed as auxiliary bishop.

Following the death of Bishop Walsh, Bishop Malone succeeded to the See of Youngstown as its third bishop on May 8, 1968, until his retirement on December 5, 1995. Bishop Malone died on April 9, 2000.

During Bishop Malone's tenure as diocesan bishop, two native sons were ordained to the episcopacy. The Most Reverend William A. Hughes, born in Youngstown, was ordained an auxiliary bishop on September 14, 1974, and appointed diocesan bishop of Covington on May 8, 1979. The Most Reverend Benedict C. Franzetta, born in East Liverpool, served as auxiliary bishop from his ordination to the episcopacy on September 4, 1980, to his retirement in 1996. Bishop Franzetta died on September 26, 2006.

The Most Reverend Thomas J. Tobin, former auxiliary bishop of Pittsburgh, succeeded Bishop Malone as the fourth bishop of Youngstown on February 2, 1996. He was installed as Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island on May 31, 2005. Monsignor Robert J. Siffrin served as Diocesan Administrator during the vacant see of 2005-2007.

On March 28, 2007, the Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J., former bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, succeeded Bishop Tobin as the fifth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown.

"Christ My Light" is the Episcopal motto of the Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J.
Upon his appointment, Bishop Murry stated: "I am honored to accept the Holy Father's appointment to serve as Bishop of Youngstown and I look forward to meeting and working with the priests, deacons, religious and laity of the diocese." Later during Mass in the Cathedral, he preached about remaining in God's love by holding on to Jesus and walking with him.
Bishop Murry was born in Camden, New Jersey, in 1948. After graduating from Catholic elementary and high schools, he attended St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland where he received a bachelor's degree in Philosophy in 1972. That same year he entered the Society of Jesus. He was ordained for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus on June 9, 1979. He earned a Masters of Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley in 1979 and a doctorate in American Cultural History from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1994.
Bishop Murry served on the faculty and was dean of student activities at Gonzaga College High School, Washington, D.C., from 1974-1976. He was assistant professor of American Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., from 1986-1990, and president of Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., from 1989-1994. He was named Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Detroit-Mercy in 1994.
On January 24, 1995, Pope John Paul II appointed him titular Bishop of Fuerteventura and Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago where he was ordained to the episcopacy on March 20, 1995. On May 5, 1998, Pope John Paul II appointed him Coadjutor Bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. Bishop Murry succeeded to the see on June 30, 1999.
Bishop Murry has served on numerous boards including the University of Detroit and Loyola Academy, both in Detroit, Michigan, St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland and Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. He is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and serves on the Domestic Policy and Education Committees. Since 2002, he has also served on the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services, the overseas arm of the U.S. Bishops, which provides food, clothing, shelter and medicine for those in need.

By heraldic tradition, the arms of the bishop of a diocese are joined with the arms of his diocese that are seen on the left side of the design. The coat of arms of the Diocese of Youngstown are composed of a green field on which is displayed a silver wavy bar (called a fess) to represent the Mahoning River that flows through the See City. Upon the wavy fess are two green arrowheads to honor the Native American peoples that first inhabited the area that is now Youngstown and a cross pommetté. The green cross pommetté is taken from the arms of the Diocese of Cleveland from which the Diocese of Youngstown was carved in 1943. This separation on the new diocese is further symbolized by the golden dove placed in the arms above the wavy fess. The word dove in Latin is "columba," and is taken from the arms of Pope Pius XII, who created the new diocese. It additionally honors the titular of the cathedral church in the See City. Below the wavy fess is a golden anvil to honor, represent and acknowledge the industrial landscape that is northeastern Ohio.
For his personal arms, seen in the right side of the shield, Bishop Murry has retained the arms that he adopted at the time of his selection to receive the fullness of Christ's most holy priesthood, as a bishop, when he became an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Chicago, and which he retained during his tenure as Bishop of Saint Thomas, in the United States Virgin Islands.
The Bishop's personal arms are composed of three sections. The upper portion is a blue field on which is seen the monogram of The Holy Name (IHS). This is a central feature of the arms of the Bishop's religious community, the Society of Jesus, and it is by this symbol that Bishop Murry acknowledges the integral part of his life that is "as a Jesuit." In the central portion of the design, on a golden field, is a red phoenix with gold fleur-de-lis on each wingtip. This is a symbol taken from the arms of the Archdiocese of Chicago where His Excellency had the honor to serve as an Auxiliary Bishop. In the base portion, on a white field is a red cross. This configuration is known as a Cross of Saint George and by its use Bishop Murry honors his baptismal patron.
For his motto Bishop Murry continues to use the phrase CHRIST MY LIGHT. By the use of this phrase, he expresses that for the Christian to find his way, one needs a light to follow or a light to find the path on which to go. In either case, that light is Christ, to show the way and to be the goal at the end of the journey.
The achievement in completed by the external ornamentation which are a gold processional cross, and the pontifical hat, called a gallero, with its six tassels in three rows on either side of the shield, all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop, by instruction of The Holy See, of March 31, 1969.
By: Deacon Paul J. Sullivan
Rev. Mr. Sullivan is a Deacon of the Diocese of Providence (RI-USA)
Bishop Murry was installed as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown on March 28, 2007. He succeeds Bishop Thomas J. Tobin who was installed as Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island on May 31, 2005.

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