2008 Past Articles

Other Articles of 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008
FFC speaker lists surprising mega-trends for Church worldwide

By Lou Jacquet

BOARDMAN – The challenges and problems facing the Catholic Church in the United States are quite unlike the challenges and problems facing the Church elsewhere in the world, a nationally known speaker told the First Friday Club of Greater Youngstown Sept. 4 during a luncheon at Antone’s Banquet Centre.

John L. Allen Jr., Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter newspaper and the journalist who covered the recent papal trip to the United States on television for CNN, brought that message to the Mahoning Valley during a luncheon talk on “Ten Mega-Trends in Catholicism.”

Time permitted discussion of only four, and space here permits coverage of only two. But Allen, moving around with microphone in hand as he extemporaneously shared facts and anecdotes drawn from his extensive world travels as a journalist covering religion, had the audience in rapt attention with his humor and surprising insights into the booming worldwide growth of Catholicism – and this at a time when the Church seems to be contracting with the closing of schools and parishes in many dioceses across the United States.

“I’m here to talk to you today about no less a prodigious subject than the future of the Roman Catholic Church,” Allen began. “Now the truth is, I don’t cast horoscopes, I don’t have visions, I don’t study animal entrails, I have no better claim than anyone else in this room to knowing the future of Roman Catholicism in the 21st century.” But looking into the future is justified, he said, because it tells us a great deal about the present. “It forces us to sort through the flotsam and jetsam of isolated events and random news headlines, to try to see past the momentary things that capture our attention and try to get our hands around the forces that are truly most fundamental, most pregnant with consequence in terms of shaping the Catholic future.”

Allen added one caveat: his discussion, he said, was “description rather than prescription,” suggesting that these are the forces at work shaping the Church, no matter what people think about those trends.

A world Church

The first mega-trend to be noted, according to Allen, is the emergence of a “world Church,” a term he used to describe a Catholic Church that is no longer dominated by Europe and North America but is now “truly global in size.” He backed up that assertion with statistics. In 1900, he said, there were 266 million Catholics in the world, of whom 200 million lived in Europe and North America. In 2000, there were 1.1 billion Catholics in the world, of whom 720 million lived in the “Global South” – Africa, Asia and Latin America.

“Ladies and gentleman, this is the most rapid, most sweeping, most profound demographic transformation of Catholicism in its 2,000-year history. This is equivalent to what happened in the early Church in the first century when St. Paul left Palestine and went into Asia Minor and eventually to Greece, thereby transforming Christianity from a sect within Palestinian Judaism to a new religious movement in the Greco-Roman world. That is how sweeping, how total the kind of transformation we are living through is destined to be.”

What do the changes mean? Allen said there are four points that hold up in terms of “what we are likely to be seeing and hearing and experiencing with our brothers and sisters in the Global South”:
southern Catholicism is morally conservative but politically liberal
the thought world of the Church in the Global South is rooted in Bible narratives, not academic theology. “There is an enormous emphasis on the supernatural…miracles, wonders, visions, signs, healings and exorcisms…are everyday stuff in the southern Church”
the problems of the Church in the Global South are different from those of the European and North American Church. The former faces a population explosion and does not have enough facilities; they also have more seminarians than they can educate (see sidebar)
southern Catholic leaders “play a very strong political role in the affairs of their cultures by our northern standards of church/state separation”.

On the conservative/liberal point, Allen noted that “when I interview bishops in the Global South, I find that they talk about the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund the way our bishops in the States talk about Planned Parenthood….” The Catholic bishops of Zimbabwe, for example, have publicly called for the resignation of Robert Mugabe, the president, which no bishop in the United States would do.

“The 21st century is going to see a Church all across the board as an extraordinarily direct, outspoken political player,” Allen added. “My point is that, if you thought the turbulence generated by the debates over Communion for pro-choice politicians were rough, ladies and gentlemen, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” It is the southern Church that will increasingly set the tone for Catholicism in the 21st century, he argued. Future protests involving Church members against policies of various nations will be more likely to involve exorcisms than the carrying of political signs, he said.

Evangelical Catholicism

Allen said a second major mega-trend he has seen is the emergence of “evangelical Catholicism,” a trend in the Global North he called “the most important, the most decisive in terms of driving the train at the policy-setting level of the Catholic Church.”

Evangelical Catholicism, the speaker said, emphasizes strong, traditional Catholic identity, such as devotion to Mary and celebration of the Eucharist; makes a strong public proclamation of that identity; sees faith as a matter of principled choice, “rather than something you simply imbibe from a Catholic neighborhood, family or school”; is a consciously crafted antidote to secularism, “intended to isolate us against being seduced by secular culture, reinforcing and strengthening those things which make us distinct as Catholics.”

Allen said there is a strong emphasis on this at the public policy level of Catholicism coming out of Rome because Catholicism in Europe is embattled with secular forces and only 11 percent of Italians, according to a recent Pew survey, believe religion is important. “This is the reality that Vatican officials and other senior officials are tripping across on their way to work every morning,” he told those present. “It is no surprise that the effort to defend and protect Catholicism, to provide it a shelter in the storm by reinforcing our traditional markers of identity, is the central project of the last two popes.”

Two other mega-trends Allen discussed at lesser length were the biotech revolution and economic globalization. All 10 of his mega-trends will be covered in a forthcoming book entitled “The Future Church.”

Their seminaries are too full

A practical example of the problems facing the “Global South” Church in Asia, Africa and Latin America involves seminary enrollment, John Allen said.

Whereas Catholic seminaries in the United States are struggling to attract candidates, Nigeria has the largest Catholic major seminary in the world with an enrollment of 1,200, which is one-fourth of the total seminary population in the United States.

But there are seven other major seminaries in Nigeria, Allen noted. “Their basic problem is that they cannot build seminaries fast enough for all the young men coming forward in Nigeria to discern a vocation to the priesthood.”

There is, however, no priesthood surplus in Africa, Allen added. He called the idea that priests from there can be imported for American parishes in any great numbers “an illusion,” because there is one priest for every 5,000 Catholics in Africa compared to one for every 1,200 Catholics in the United States.

“They are baptizing people far more rapidly than they are ordaining them in Africa. The challenge for the young Church there is to build up the infrastructure to cope with the rapidly expanding population, where the Catholic Church has grown by 6,708 percent in the past 100 years.”

 

Friday, September 26, 2008
Paulines’ stpaulstube.com Web site up, running, getting response worldwide

Debora Shaulis Flora
Special to the Exponent

CANFIELD – A Google search for faith-friendly videos on the Internet will bring you a world of options, many of which are available on one new social network Web site that originates within the Diocese of Youngstown.

St. Paul’s Tube (www.stpaulstube.com) was launched by the Society of St. Paul in conjunction with the Pauline Year that began June 28. Pope Benedict XVI called for a celebration of the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul, a disciple of Jesus Christ and a prolific author whose letters are part of the New Testament.

The priests and brothers of the Society of St. Paul call the world their parish and the media their pulpit. In Canfield, the Society of St. Paul operates Alba House Communications, an audio-visual publishing company, and produces programming for Catholic Television Network of Youngstown (CTNY). Now it also offers St. Paul’s Tube, which carries the theme “Promoting Knowledge of Religious Faith and Practice.”

Father Jeffrey Mickler, who developed St. Paul’s Tube, said the namesake saint had two means of communicating – writing and speaking. St. Paul’s reputation was that of an impatient man who was always trying to get more done in a day. “I think he would have been delighted to have instant communications,” Father Mickler said.

As for the Web site, “It’s at the heart of the vocation of the Society of St. Paul – to use the latest means,” he added. “That’s what we’re bred for. It’s in our genes.”

Social network Web sites are timely for many reasons. Besides their interactive and global capabilities, recent surveys have shown that 80 to 90 percent of Internet users have looked online for spiritual or religious material, Father Mickler said.

St. Paul’s Tube combines the best of many popular social network Web sites, including YouTube, MySpace and Facebook. For example, YouTube allows users to post videos only. St. Paul’s Tube features include video, audio, blogs and a link to Vatican Radio and its world news reports in English.

Father Mickler invites parishes and youth groups to upload videos and start blogs on St. Paul’s Tube. It’s easy to embed videos from St. Paul’s Tube onto a parish Web site without consuming the parish Web site’s memory, he said.

Ways in which people already are using St. Paul’s Tube include the following:
Someone posted video of a six-member parish choir from a Manhattan church performing a song.
A music teacher from Pennsylvania uploaded some of his original Christian music.
Two women from Great Britain are blogging and posting photographs of their gardens in bloom.
Father Mickler and Brother Dominic Calabro are producing 10-minute videos – one per week of the Pauline Year – about the life and work of St. Paul.
Father Mickler posts video from CTNY of Masses, ordinations, speakers and special events.
St. Paul’s Tube also gives the Society of St. Paul a way to promote its books and related materials. Users will see only in-house advertisements on the Web site. Father Mickler said he turned down an opportunity for advertising support because he couldn’t have absolute control over the advertising content.

Content is changing daily, and Father Mickler said he hopes it will change on an hourly basis in the future.

St. Paul’s Tube should be “a place where people of faith won’t be attacked,” Father Mickler said. So far, Father Mickler has spent one hour per day on average monitoring the site’s blogs and reviewing audio and video posts for objectionable materials, which he censors. As use of St. Paul’s Tube grows, he hopes to recruit volunteers to help him monitor the site, he said.

This site isn’t registering millions of viewings per day as YouTube does, and that’s OK with Father Mickler. “This is like a small-town concept. Eventually, you can get to know everyone in your small town,” he said. “You get the feeling of participating in something new.”

Then again, St. Paul’s Tube is being viewed. “We have a smattering of European and South American viewers, but it’s mostly North American – U.S. and Canada,” Father Mickler said. Seventy percent of St. Paul’s Tube viewers are male; 30 percent are female, according to his statistics. The largest age group is viewers between 40 and 50 years old. About one-fifth of viewers are age 35 or younger, he noted.

St. Paul’s Tube is not the first Christian site of its kind. The biggest may be Godtube.com, but it’s “hard to get a grasp on what the vision is,” Father Mickler said. “Ours is ecumenical and interreligious.”

Likewise, commentaries by Father Mickler that he has posted on other sites are now appearing on St. Paul’s Tube as well. Father Mickler has posted more than 130 videos on YouTube that have been viewed more than 274,000 times, he said.

If something in the news or pop culture has religious impact, Father Mickler will make a video about it. He checks cable TV music channel VH1 for themes of the week’s 10 most popular videos. “I surprise younger viewers by even bringing subjects up ... that a priest might even be obliquely aware that something is on the charts at the moment,” he said. He also reviews movies, most recently “The Dark Knight” from the “Batman” series.

Much as he enjoys his work, “You have to be thick-skinned in video productions,” Father Mickler said. “I’ve been called every name” because of the content of some of his commentaries. “You post video with hopes that it will be viewed. You take responsibility for the content.” Other sites will contain obnoxious material that is “hidden bigotry” because people hide behind fake user names, he added: “That, to me, is the ultimate narcissism.”

Father Mickler was born in Youngstown, raised in Austintown and studied philosophy at Youngstown State University. He has been a web developer since 1997. “The Society of St. Paul teaches all members various skills. I’ve focused on this aspect of our apostolate,” he said.

Debora Shaulis Flora is a veteran journalist working in Youngstown

 

Friday, September 26, 2008
Bishop Murry: Charity is most important of deacon’s three ministries

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bishop George Murry, S.J., delivered the following homily on the occasion of the ordination of seven permanent deacons on Sept. 6 at St. Paul Church, North Canton, and 13 permanent deacons on Sept. 13 at St Columba Cathedral, Youngstown.

There are very few occasions where the rubrics of the Church allow the Bishop to sit for his homily. This is one of them and I’m going to take full advantage of it.

My brothers in Christ, in a moment, through the ancient ritual of the imposition of hands and the prayer of consecration, you will be ordained permanent deacons in the Roman Catholic Church of Jesus Christ. This is a joyful day for you, your wives, your families and for all of us, clergy and lay who comprise the local Church of the Diocese of Youngstown.

I am sincerely grateful to each one of you for your generosity of service. I am also very grateful to Msgr. John Zuraw, to Fran Amer, and to Barbara Walko who spent so much time working with you and instructing you through this process, along with many others too numerous to name. I look forward to working closely with you in our shared ministry. The office of Deacon enjoys a rich history and its own unique significance. Today you are called and consecrated to exercise that ministry in the three traditional ways:
— by proclaiming the word of God
— by assisting at the altar
— and by performing works of charity.

Such powerful expectations demand courage and determination. They also require careful consideration, which is why I now invite you to explore their meaning as you stand before the people of God.

First, let us consider the responsibility you will have to proclaim the Word, the good news of Jesus Christ. It is my hope that you will preach in eloquent words that connect with people’s lives and their experiences, but I also hope that you will not only preach with words but also with your entire life. The Jesuit homilist Father Walter Burghardt has said it well: “What the world outside these walls asks of you is that you attest to what you have seen and proclaim what you have heard, and testify to what you have touched. Today’s men and women look for in you and expect from you a sign that you have experienced what you are preaching.”

Therein lies the key to effective preaching. If you strive to preach in that way, the way that Father Burghardt proposes, the people whom you will serve will see Christ far more easily. They will see Him because you will be living witnesses to his love and his forgiveness. Therefore, my brothers, always yearn to be companions of Jesus. There is no greater gift that you can give to your people than the example of how the Lord has loved and redeemed you.

What is your call to assist the priest at the altar? It will be your sacred task to lead the people in the acknowledgement of their sin, make ready the altar for sacrifice, and distribute the body and blood of Christ to the community of believers. In these actions, you should always display true reverence and prayerful attention to detail, in order to help the faithful appropriately prepare for that great gift of the reception of Holy Communion.

The third traditional ministry of the deacon is the exercise of charity, and of all the ministries this is the most important. As a deacon you must be exemplary in caring for the poor and the needy among us. Care for the man who has just lost his job and has also lost hope. Care for the woman who comes to the rectory door looking for food. Visit the sick in nursing homes. Listen to those who are confused. Care well, and you will teach your brothers and sisters in faith to also care. From you they will develop a selfless desire for the common good. They will hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God. And they will not be satisfied until justice is done.

This morning, the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and you will promise to live and serve as a deacon in communities throughout our diocese. To sustain that spirit and that promise, however, to fend off temptations to rationalize it, to minimize it or to compromise it, you will need to commit yourselves to serious daily prayer. Only through prayer will you find the strength to faithfully discharge this lifelong commitment. Only with prayer will you quell the fears that you may have about the success of your ministry. Only in prayer will you hear the authentic voice of God.

Come then, my brothers. Come and be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit so that you might serve his people as God has sent you. Through Him, with Him and in Him all this is possible. Through Him, with Him and in Him you will prostrate yourselves in a moment before this altar and rise deacons of the Lord. God bless you.

 

Friday, September 26, 2008
Diocesan library/media center has resources on vocations

EDITOR’S NOTE: The full version of this article, including a listing of CDs and videos, appears on the Web site of the Diocese of Youngstown, www.cathdoy.org. (Click on Catholic Exponent.)

God calls everyone to use his or her gifts and talents in loving service. The following resources on church vocations explore the many ways to respond to this call.

The Office of Religious Education’s Library and Media Center, located at 225 Elm St., is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Materials can be mailed directly to your home or parish. For more information, call 330-744-8451, ext. 297, or visit on-line at www.doylib.org.

A Guide to Religious Ministries for Catholic Men and Women. New Rochelle, NY: Catholic News Publishing Company, 2004. This directory lists the religious communities of priests, brothers, and sisters active in the United States.

An Inside Look. Schatz FSC, Larry, Donna Kamann, John Mack, et al. Winona, MN: St. Mary’s Press, 2002. This vocation series offers an inside look at the lives of a priest, sister, brother, married couple, and single person.

A Sacred Voice is Calling: Personal Vocation and Social Conscience. Neafsy, John. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2006. Neafsy helps discern one’s authentic vocation.

Consecrated Religious Life: The Changing Paradigms. O’Murchu MSC, Diarmuid. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2005. O’Murchu envisions new ways to live the vowed life.

Diversity of Vocations. Dennis, Marie. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008. Dennis reflects on ways to live a vocation to Christian discipleship.

Living Baptism Daily. Mick, Lawrence. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2004. Mick invites the baptized to live their Christian vocation everyday.

Modern Spiritual Masters: Writings on Contemplation and Compassion. Ellsberg, Robert, ed. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008. This anthology features the spiritual wisdom of 12 modern spiritual masters.

You Will Be My Witnesses: Saints, Prophets, and Martyrs. Dear S.J., John. Icons by William Hart Nichols. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2006. Dear and Nichols offer reflections and icons about holy Christian witnesses.

CDs

A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. Rohr OFM, Richard, and Paula D’Arcy. Cincinnati, OH: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2004. Rohr and D’Arcy reflect on the Christian vocation throughout adulthood.

The Mystery of Faith: An Introduction to Catholicism. Himes, Michael, J. Cincinnatti, OH: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2004. Himes reflects on the sacraments of vocation.

VIDEOS

As Water in the Desert: Baptism, Call to Mission. Society of St. Columban. St. Columbans, NE: Columban Mission Office, 2000. The Columbans encourage Catholics to live out their baptismal call to mission.

Wives of Deacons: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives. Secretariat for the Diaconate. Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2004. The wives of six deacons share their experiences with deacon formation and ministry.

 

Friday, September 26, 2008
Mission trip to Mexico touches St. Robert parishioners

By Mary Ellen Pellegrini
Special to the Exponent

CORTLAND – On June 30, a group of St. Robert parishioners completed their second mission trip assisting Sacred Heart Parish in Piedras Negras, Mexico. In spite of language and cultural impediments, the sister parishes discovered God’s love exceeds any barrier, said Mary Jo Dicristofaro, the St. Robert member who led both mission trips. “We went thinking we were going to give, and we were the ones who received,” she noted.

The outreach project to embrace the Catholic global community was first proposed in 2004 by Father Carl Kish, St. Robert pastor. “Our mission statement was to partner with a church in the Third World,” explained Dicristofaro. When the Mission Interface Committee began reviewing options that October, “we didn’t have a set goal. We simply wanted to establish a relationship with a church and be doers of the Word,” she continued.

An extensive search led St. Robert parishioners to Sister Ursula Herrera in Eagle Pass, Texas, across the Rio Grande River from Piedras Negras. Sister Ursula ministers at Sacred Heart and its two affiliated orphanages.

Twenty-nine members of St. Robert’s journeyed to Peidras Negras in June 2007 for a five-day outreach. In 2008, 13 area Catholics returned to work, pray, entertain the children and worship together. Among the travelers were Phil and Mary Gonzalez, music ministers at Campbell St. Rose of Lima Parish, who served as translators.

“One of the reasons I went was because I was 40 years old and had never needed anything. This was my way of saying ‘thank you’ to God and giving back,” said Tina Petiya, St. Robert parishioner and photojournalist for both missions.

Prior to the 2007 trip, Father Kish traveled to Sacred Heart to meet its pastor, Padre Carlos Aguilera. Sister Ursula also came to Cortland to meet with St. Robert’s parish council. “We wanted it to be a long-term commitment, not a fly-by-night operation,” said Dicristofaro.

One of the committee’s reasons for choosing Mexico was its proximity. “We didn’t want to just send money. We wanted to establish a partnership with the pastor and parishioners,” Dicristofaro explained.

Initially, she said, there was a fear of the unknown. “The first year we didn’t know what to expect,” Dicristofaro noted. Parishioners only knew they would be going into a very poor community. In addition, a tornado in April 2007 hit Piedras Negras, damaging the orphanages and destroying all but the back wall of Sacred Heart Church. “When we got there in June [2007], everything was still a mess from the tornado,” said Dicristofaro.

The intense heat was also a concern. “In 2007, there wasn’t enough electricity to run the air conditioners for anything but sleeping at night,” said Petiya.

That year, the mission group repaired windows in the orphanage which were blown out by the tornado, built a bridge connecting both sides of the second floor in the girls’ orphanage, painted playground equipment and helped rebuild a home.

During this summer’s six-day outreach, the participants built closets, did minor repairs and painted the chapel in the boys’ orphanage. “I was out in 102 degree weather scrapping rust off a gate and painting it, but it didn’t seem as hot this year,” said Dicristofaro.

In addition to physical labor, the parishioners spend time with the children at both orphanages. They also hosted a party in the colonia (a local neighborhood) complete with lunch for all residents and a children’s fair. “Once you hold those kids and see their joy, you can’t abandon them,” said Petiya.

Those interactions evolved into the mission’s top priority, education. After fifth grade, Mexican children must pay for their schooling, noted Dicristofaro. Yearly tuition averages $150, a hardship for most families. Students are also responsible for the cost of uniforms and school supplies. “When we asked Sister Ursula about the border issue, she said Mexicans need a reason to stay in Mexico that will support their families. It’s all about education and giving people hope for a better future,” said Dicristofaro.

St. Robert Parish sponsored five children in 2007, will sponsor six in 2008 and is hoping to assist more. “Without this financial support, kids might be apprenticed in a trade but in Mexico you can’t make a living in the trades. They might also be a day laborer or not work at all,” said Petiya. “Our goal is to take the children we are sponsoring as far as they want to go including college,” continued Dicristofaro. One of the boys being sponsored hopes to become a doctor.

All those who traveled to Mexico describe their experience as life-changing. “I see people who want a better life just like my grandparents. You gain more compassion. You also realize how blessed we are in the United States,” Dicristofaro said.

A highlight of the 2008 trip was Mass on the final evening. Padre Carlos celebrated Mass in the newly painted boys’ chapel. His homily, proclaimed in English, spoke of a bond between the Ohio and Mexican parishes which only God can give. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” said Dicristofaro.

To fund repairs, tuition, uniforms, shoes, school supplies, gifts for children in the orphanages and prizes for the colonia party, St. Robert Parish holds a fiesta on the weekend closest to Mexican Independence Day, Sept. 16. This year the parish fiesta will be held on Sept. 13 beginning with 4 p.m. Mass, scheduled to be celebrated by Bishop George Murry, S.J. Following Mass, the reservations-only events will include a catered Spanish meal, music, dancing and children’s games.

One of the craft activities this past June was the creation of a banner signed by all the Sisters and children at the orphanage. Handprints and a picture of each individual complete the banner which will be displayed at the fiesta.

“The entire effort is part of our visions and values putting God’s light and life into the world,” said Father Kish. “We as members of the loving community of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish want to touch the world through the mission project,” he added.

Mary Ellen Pellegrini, a former teacher and a free-lance writer for the Exponent, also writes for Catholic magazines and parenting publications

 

Friday, September 05, 2008
Cavs look to bounce back from first-ever losing season

Walsh Head Coach Jim Dennison starts his 14th year as the head football coach at Walsh University, and 27th overall at the collegiate level. The Cavs suffered their first-ever losing season (5-6) under Dennison last year, and are looking forward to a return to their winning ways.

The process of bouncing back began the week of the Marian College game in 2007. After dropping five consecutive games, and facing their first losing season in the history of the program, Walsh took steps to return to their winning ways. The Cavs scored 54 points in a lopsided win over Marian and then downed Taylor in the season finale.

Despite adversity Walsh bounced back, a trademark of Dennison’s teams throughout the years. The wins produced in the final two games would carry over into the toughest off season in Walsh history, and burn the path to winning football.

There were many highlights in 2007; right tackle Mike Galassi (6-5, 302, Sr., Strongsville, OH/Holy Name/Kent State) repeated as a first-team NAIA AFCA All-American and tailback Clinton Blossomgame (5-11, 210, RS-So., Columbus, OH/Beechcroft) rushed for over 1,400 yards and was named first-team All-Mid-States Football Association Mideast Team.

Offense
The Cavs will have a new look on offense, with new personnel as well. Walsh will do some work out of the shotgun. Senior quarterback Marc Pullen (6-2, 205, Sr., Akron, OH/Ellet) is no stranger to the gun. Pullen becomes a two-way threat with the gun, with the run, as well as the pass. He worked extremely hard in the off-season and is adapting very well. He passed for eight TDs and almost 1,500 yards last season.

All-MSFA tailback Clinton Blossomgame (5-11, 210, RS-So., Columbus, OH/Beechcroft) returns after a breakthrough first season. Blossomgame exploded for 11 TDs and 1,487 yards on the ground, the third most in a single season at Walsh. He is coming off an outstanding spring, and is expected to be a force. The Cavs are deep at tailback, with Kevin Beichler (5-10, 174, So., Orrville, OH/Smithville), Tim Cox (5-11, 206, Jr., Minerva, OH/HS) Rashid Sharif (5-9, 190, RS-Fr., Cleveland, OH/Collinwood) and Jeff Tallman (5-9,193, Jr., Canton, OH/Perry). Tallman returns after missing most of the season due to a knee injury.

Coach Dennison is excited about the offensive line, but did suffer some key losses. The biggest loss is that of left tackle Mike Galassi, a two-time AFCA/NAIA First-Team All-American. Galassi is currently playing in the Canadian Football League. Chris Stiel (6-6, 280, Sr., Reynoldsburg, OH/HS) moves from right tackle to replace Galassi. The veteran will anchor the left side and provide leadership to the young line. Jesse Modesitt (6-4, 257, RS-Fr., Newark, OH/HS) shifts from the defensive side, and will start at left guard. Redshirt freshmen are also expected to battle for starting slots at center and right guard. Cory Shane (6-1, 243, RS-Fr., Massillon, OH/Washington) will be challenged by senior Drew Stagg (6-3, 234, Sr., Reynoldsburg, OH/HS) at center. Stagg is also the Cavs’ long snapper. Redshirt freshman Dan Robinson (6-1, 290, RS-Fr., Wadsworth, OH/HS) moves over from the defensive interior and is expected to start at right guard. Michael Seibert (6-4, 288, RS-So., Poland, OH/Seminary) will anchor the right side at tackle, after earning his first letter at tackle and guard last year. Veterans Andrew Bauer (6-2, 300, RS-So., Canton, OH/St. Thomas Aquinas) and William Call (6-4, 280, Jr., Miamisburg, OH/HS) will provide depth and push the starters. Bauer returns after missing all of last year due to an ACL injury and will provide depth at left guard. Call started last year at right tackle.

Veteran Lou Ward (6-0, 255, Sr., East Liverpool, OH/HS) gets the nod at fullback. Ward will concentrate on offense totally in 2008, after spending some time at linebacker in 2007. He is an outstanding blocking back, who can pave the way for the tailback.

The Cavs are deep at tight end, led by returning veteran Zach Pridemore (6-4, 244, Jr., Scio, OH/Carrollton) and sophomore Brad Schrecengost (6-7, 238, Cortland, OH/Lakeview). Pridemore started every game last year, while Schrecengost moves over from the offensive line. Not to be overlooked are freshmen Judd Ellinger (6-3, 213, Lancaster, OH/Amanda Clearcreek) and Jared Suvak (6-2, 242, Fr., Galena, OH/Big Walnut).

Wide receiver returns veteran playmakers and an infusion of new talent. Veterans Mike McGill (6-1, 175, Jr., Barberton, OH/Coventry) and John Rutan (6-0, 209, Jr., Hartville, OH/Lake) return and are looking for big years. McGill caught 25 passes last year, four for TDs. He is dangerous deep and has the knack of making the big catch at critical times. Rutan is good over the middle and rarely drops the ball in traffic. Also returning are vets Rayshon Dent (5-11, 187, Jr., Akron, OH/Buchtel), Tyler Pierce (6-4, 175, RS-So., Salem, OH/HS) and converted defensive back Alex Racius (5-9, 160, So., Lehigh Acers, FL/Lee). Freshmen receivers are, Matt Sommer (6-4, 180, Shelby, OH/HS), T.J. Viscuso (5-11, 170, Uniontown, OH/Lake) and Brad Ziegler (6-0, 180, Stow, OH/HS).

Defense
The Cavs defense will have new faces in key spots, bolstered by transfers and key recruits.

The defensive interior is solid, led by returning veterans Keith Anderson (6-1, 290, Sr., Toledo, OH/Scott), Luke Kolic (6-4, 231, Sr., Massillon, OH/Perry), Mark Sexton (6-2, 265, Jr., New Philadelphia, OH/HS) and Jermaine Whitmore (6-3, 234, Jr., Euclid, OH/St. Ignatius). All have started and have plenty of game experience. Add Tony Reed (INT, 6-1, 300, So., Warren, OH/Harding/College of Southern Maryland) to the mix, and this becomes a very formidable front. Also providing depth is veteran Andy Lahmers (5-11, 245, Jr., Gnadenhutten, OH/Indian Valley). Akron native, and Ohio State transfer Sian Cotton (INT, 6-4,315, Sr., Akron, OH/St. Vincent-St. Mary/Ohio State) could be a force. The Cavs could be explosive upfront.

The linebacking contingent is solid, led by Royal Porter (6-1, 206, Jr., Columbus, OH/Mifflin), Mike Rutan (6-2, 205, So., Hartville, OH/Lake) and Jason Stiel (6-2, 220, So., Reynoldsburg, OH/HS). Porter started every game in 2007 and recorded 79 tackles. He is a punishing tackler. Rutan started the final two games and came on strong with seven tackles in the season finale. Stiel lettered in a reserve role and comes from the special teams. Freshman George Tabron (6-3, 215, Fr., Canton, OH/McKinley) will also be in the mix.

The Cavs’ secondary will feature some new faces in starting roles, but is by no means inexperienced. Eric Peavy (5-9, 167, Sr., Cleveland, OH/Warrensville) returns at left corner. Peavy started the first three games of ‘08, but was then sidelined due to a season ending knee injury suffered while blocking a punt. Peavy has a nose for the ball. Newcomer Jamaal Ballard (5-10, 173, Fr., Massillon, OH/Washington) will push Peavy. He has fine speed and adds great athletic ability to the secondary. Chris Bivins (6-0, 184, RS-Fr., Alliance, OH/HS) and Gary Stubbs (5-8, 173, Jr., Steubenville, OH/HS) will compete at strong safety. Bivins redshirted last year, while Stubbs lettered in a reserve role and on special teams. Mike Welce (5-8, 189, RS-So., Columbiana, OH/HS) and DeWayne Richardson (6-1, 170, RS-Fr., Akron, OH/St. Vincent-St. Mary) will compete at free safety. Welce lettered on special teams and in a reserve role, while Richardson redshirted. Veterans Sterling Tatum (5-8, 170, Jr., Cleveland, OH/Maple Heights) and Mike Garden (5-10, 177, Sr., Akron, OH/Copley) will do battle at right corner. Both have starting experience, which bolsters this already strong secondary.

Special Teams/Kick Game
Eric Peavy and Brian Williams have the task of replacing all-time kick return leader Rob Lash. Both have good hands and breakaway capabilities. Mike McGill takes over on punt return teams. He falls into the same category, as a returner with outstanding hands and as a threat to go all the way.

Eric Buchanan (6-3, 186, So., Green Cove Springs, FL/Clay) returns to handle place kicking duties. He was perfect on extra points (23-23) and has the leg to convert from long range. Buchanan finished strong last season, with four field goals against Marian. J.C. Heighway (6-2, 195, Sr., North Canton, OH/Hoover) will again handle punting duties.

 

Friday, September 05, 2008
Diocesan educators honored for years of service

The following educators in schools of the Diocese of Youngstown were honored for their years of service Aug. 19 during a service and gathering held at St. Michael Parish, Canton.

5 Years of Service
Robert Barr, Marybeth Cordes, Brooke DeJulia, Laura DiBarto, Cassandra Donofrio, Sean Durkin, Diane Fimognari, Lee Ann Hornbrook, Daniel LaCivita, Molly Manley, Amber Mueser, Patricia Muffet, Mary Christine Sbaraglia.

10 Years of Service
Ursula Baker, Kristine Botti, Daniel Bressi, Louis Domitrovich, Melinda Dragomier, Kristen Frazzini, Jacqueline Futey, Christina Hughes, Maureen Kandray, Virginia Lopata, Caroline Martuccio, Judith McDonald, Stephen Mohr, Pamela Nicodemo, Kathleen Noble, Lisa Pfouts, Jennifer Policy, Lisa Pozderac, Michael Ress, Laura Ries, Angela Rozzo, David Rozzo, Cynthia Samolczyk, Michelle Whittenberger.

15 Years of Service
Marilyn Binko, Lawrence Bozick, Alaina Chepke, Marilyn Daltorio, Lucy Moccia, Susan O’Connor, Sally Roden, Edward Smith, Jeannine Spalvieri, Patricia Studer, Jennifer Zenobi.

20 Years of Service
Ann Marie Bednar, Sister of Notre Dame Ann Marie Boehnlein, Dianna Bokone, Linda Borton, Catherine Calo, Barbara Ealy, Melissa Forde, James Huth, Sister of Notre Dame Mary James Kelly, Diane Leper, Charles Lozier, Eugenia MacDonald, Natalie Murphy, Lissa Oslin, Diane Oswald, Joanne Stopar, Pamela Yambrovich.

25 Years of Service
Kathleen Bragg, Barbara Casanta, Barbara Dohar, Carol Friedman, Marsha Jankowski, James Ludwick, Carolyn Martin, Patricia Perry, Sue Ann Ray, Barbara Rupinsky, Rosemary Scrocco, Josephine Shircliff, Nancy Stolle, Irene Stout, Amy Streb, Roberta Thornton, Susan Trewella, Rose Uzarski, Deborah Young.

30 Years of Service
Donna Bobosh, Michele Forrer, Humility of Mary Sister Jane Marie Kudlacz, Father William Petrunak, Thomas Thornton, Claire Valentino, Marie Viglio.

35 Years of Service
Cindi Eby, Sandra Ketchem, Albina Larson, Diane Mastro Nard, Terrence Murphy, Rose Quinn, Virginia Smith, John Wagner, Catherine Wigley.

40 Years of Service
Paul Gregory, Ursuline Sister Mary Alyce Koval, Valery Litwinow.

45 Years of Service
Rose Krantz, Nancy Shugart, John Ulicney.

 

Friday, September 05, 2008
New class of permanent deacons set to be ordained

By Lou Jacquet

Twenty men will join the ranks of the permanent diaconate in the diocese this month during two separate liturgies, to be held in North Canton and Youngstown.

Bishop George Murry, S.J., will ordain seven men on Sept. 6 at North Canton St. Paul Church and 13 more on Sept. 13 at St. Columba Cathedral. The two 10:30 a.m. liturgies were necessary so that the new deacons could invite family and friends to the services.

The new class will bring the number of men currently serving in that ministry in the diocese to 82. Their biographies and photos are found on Pages 13-14.

Msgr. John Zuraw, director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate, supervised the formation of the candidates. Deacon Ray Hatala and his wife, Sue, associate directors of the office, were also instrumental in the process.

In an interview with the Catholic Exponent this week, Msgr. Zuraw discussed the formation process that led to this month’s ordinations, as well as the reason it had been such a long time since the last class of permanent deacons was ordained for the diocese.

Bishop Thomas Tobin had put the diaconate program on hold here while the Vatican Congregation for Clergy and the Congregation for Catholic Education were developing documents on the permanent diaconate, Msgr. Zuraw explained. The first was published by the Congregation for Clergy as the “Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons.” At the same time, the Congregation for Catholic Education issued “Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons.” The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a “National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States” in 2003.

Pope Paul VI had allowed for the ancient ministry of the diaconate to be begun anew in 1968, Msgr. Zuraw explained, but through the years, various guidelines for the formation of permanent deacons had evolved in different places. Seeing that reality unfold, the Holy See had sought a more unified approach for the formation and education of permanent deacons. “Bishop Tobin wanted to be sure that we did not start a program that would not thoroughly reflect what this expected new directive was all about,” Msgr. Zuraw explained. “He never intended that it would take this long, but it did take this long” until the new guidelines were fully available.

The new group of candidates for the permanent diaconate began their study four years ago in the fall of 2004 with a year of aspirancy. In the Diocese of Youngstown, those considering becoming permanent deacons took part in the diocesan Foundations in Ministry program, participating in 18 sessions over eight months to gain a greater understanding of Scripture, the mission of Jesus Christ, and the basics of Catholic teaching. “What we tried to do is to get everybody on the same level, both academically and somewhat spiritually,” Msgr. Zuraw added. “The candidates were coming from a wide variety of backgrounds theologically.” Some of the men had college educations and some did not. Most had been out of school for many years and needed to get readjusted to dealing with coursework.

One candidate chose to leave the program after seeing the time commitment involved, but the remaining men then entered three years of formation, meeting monthly from September through June with annual August retreats as well. After each session, they were given homework assignments and had to produce a written document of 10 pages or more for the next session. Weekends in the final three years were devoted to topics in biblical studies, dogmatic theology, moral theology and pastoral studies.

This particular group of men had to make adjustments midway through the program when the former Sacred Heart Retreat Center, where they met for weekends, was no longer available. “This was the best group of men that we could have possibly asked for,” Msgr. Zuraw reflected. “We could not have asked for a better group to go through the process with us. There was an openness on their part to learning. They realized that we would have to make adjustments as we went along, and they jelled as a group.

While there has at times been confusion over the role of permanent deacons since Pope Paul VI reinstated this ministry, the Church documents and local preparation in the program here makes it clear that a deacon’s service to the Church requires a balance. Msgr. Zuraw said:

‘What we stressed with this class is that the diaconal ministry flows from family life. So their first priority is being husband and father. That’s where a balance needs to be created and established. If one’s job, their financial livelihood, demands more time and effort, then the amount of time that they spend within the parish ministry will be lessened.”

Because each deacon’s situation will be different, the diocese does not require the men to devote a certain number of hours to their ministry. Their own occupations maintain them economically, Msgr. Zuraw noted. “They are not being paid by the Church. This is ministry. This is service. This is volunteering. They need to devote time to their family and job. Some of our deacons even have small children who must be their first priority.”

Above all, the new deacons learned that they were to be advocates for justice, “a witness and guide for the People of God,” Msgr. Zuraw offered. “As the Directory says, the ministry of the Word leads to the ministry of the altar, which in turn prompts the transformation of the life of the deacon, resulting in service and charity. The deacon is also a sanctifier of the people of God, an evangelizer and teacher, but his most important role is that of being the advocate for justice.”

One new element with this current class of permanent deacons will differ from the past: the new men will not have preaching faculties for their first year. There are two reasons for this change, Msgr. Zuraw told the Exponent.

The first is simply that most of the men are entering into liturgical ministry for the first time; the aim was to make that entry a slow process, which would allow them to grow. “This is a transition for them,” the priest explained. “It’s a transition for their wives, their families, and the parishes they will serve. To place upon them a wide variety of roles in ministry right from the beginning would be unfair. We would like them to get used to the role of deacon, to the role of service and justice.”

The second reason for delaying the granting of preaching faculties is so that the parish community will first see the new deacons in the role of minister of charity and minister of justice, then root their preaching in those qualities. “That will make their proclamation of God’s word more authentic, more credible,” Msgr Zuraw said. “The parish will have seen them at work within these ministries.”

The deacons will be ordained for the diocese, exercising their ministry under the authority of the bishop, he said, but most will serve in parish ministry, while a few could become involved in wider activities – such as prison ministry – that would serve the diocese at large. Should their employment require them to move to another area of this diocese, they would join a new parish community to serve there; if their work takes them outside the diocese, they would serve in that new diocese as ordained permanent deacons without having to undergo further study or training.

Msgr. Zuraw praised the efforts of Sue Hatala in meeting with the wives of the new deacons. “Sue has helped a lot, especially with the deacon candidates’ wives,” he said. “They have had a few sessions [with her] during this formation on what to expect, because not only will their husbands be visible members within the parish community, but often individuals will come to the wives and want them to have answers.”

The Church document on the permanent diaconate understands the importance of the wives in this formation, he added, noting that “the wives have to give their OK, their permission for the husbands to enter the diaconate program.” Wives signed their husbands’ petition for ordination “so that there was a unified force going into all of this.”

Finally, Msgr. Zuraw pointed out that it is important for diocesan Catholics to recall that the Diocese of Youngstown first began the permanent diaconate program under the late Bishop James W. Malone in the 1970s; the first class was ordained in 1977. “This diocese has a long history and tradition with the permanent diaconate,” Msgr. Zuraw stressed. “The permanent diaconate is not new to us here.”

Two other men studied with the class. William George was ordained for the Maronite Eparchy, while Robert (Bob) Chilson of Canton St. Michael Parish died on Good Friday, April 10, 2007 in his third year of the formation process.

Diocese’s permanent deacon candidates come from all walks of life

Anthony Falasca, Jr.
Falasca and his wife Kathleen (McDonough), members of CampbellSt. Joseph the Provider Parish, are the parents of Brian Keish and Melissa Keish. He is an account manager for Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Youngstown 7-Up.
“Through my discernment and formation into the permanent diaconate of the Church, I was able to recognize the voice and presence of God among His people. I am looking forward to being a servant to the servants of the Diocese of Youngstown and of my parish community.”

Ernie Formichelli
Formichelli and his wife Vicki (Scavina),members of Holy Family Parish, Poland are the parents of Angela and Anthony. He is a teacher and department chair at Cardinal Mooney High School.
“Learning, growing and loving are the essential characteristics evident in the evolution of today’s deacon in formation.”

Mark Fuller
Fuller and his wife Sharyn (Cutler), members of Canton St. Michael the Archangel Parish, are the parents of Molly Fuller Reynolds and Meredith Fuller. He is a manufacturer representative of Leidy engineering Sales, Inc., and sales agent for Fuller and Associates, Inc.
“To me being a deacon is serving God out of thanksgiving and obedience. God is served by caring for creation and in particular making people aware of God’s love and care for them.”

William George
George and his wife LoriAnn (Meadows), members of Youngstown St. Maron (Maronite) Catholic Church, Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, are parents of Cathy, Abigayle and Blaise. He is the senior director of business development at Select Specialty Hospital. He was ordained on Aug. 9, 2008, by the Most Reverend Robert Shaheen
“I am humbled by the spiritual and emotional support I have been blessed with from my family, my parish community, the clergy and my friends. If not for this support, the journey I have just completed and the one I begin at ordination would be extremely difficult and less fulfilling.”

Carl Jerzyk
Jerzyk and his wife Dodie (Florek) members of North Canton St. Paul Parish, are the parents of Scott, Jill Bromund and Alyssa Grovemiller. He is a retired human resources professional
“By answering the call to the diaconate I have come to a greater understanding of my faith and the needs of God’s people. My life has been transformed by my awareness of God’s love for me, and He continues to mold me to serve His church.”

Gary Keefer
Keefer and his wife Cyndi (Kniola), members of Mantua St. Joseph Parish, are the parents of Melissa Hunley. He is self-employed.
“I have a profound love for the Church and her people and a deep appreciation for the gifts I have received. I believe I was called to the diaconate to serve the Church and her people and to share these gifts wherever I go and with whomever I meet.”

Ed Laubacher
Laubacher and his wife Meg (Duncan), members of North Canton St. Paul Parish, are the parents of Katie, Emma, Tessa and John. He is a high school science teacher at Lake Local Schools.
“God calls each of us in different ways. For me, the permanent diaconate is a chance to show that a pretty ordinary everyday guy with a wife and four children and a job can love God and serve Him in spite of everything else going on in life.”

Frank W. Marino
Marino and his wife Kathleen (Rowlands), members of Masury St. Bernadette Parish, are the parents of daughter Carie. He is a lieutenant for the City of Youngstown Fire Department.
“I became more understanding not only of myself, but of others and I feel that this will help me serve those within the community.”

James L. Massacci
Massacci and his wife Kathy (Morris), members of Rootstown St. Peter of the Fields Parish, are the parents of James Jr., Jessica Kehre, Jac-queline, Jacobs and Brenda Miller. He is employed by the United States Army ROTC, University of Akron
“The dia-conate program has been for me a very spiritual journey of faith, which leads me to dedicate my life to serve my brothers and sisters. As my ministry I have chosen prison ministry by bring the Eucharist, hope and the word of our Lord to those who are behind the walls of prison.

Robert Theodore Mintus
Mintus and his wife Renita (Boucher), members of Warren St. Piux X Parish, are the parents of Allison, Elizabeth, David and Scott. He is a senior process automation engineer at Allegheny Ludlum Corp., Midland, Pa.
“In my journey of formation, I have come to a fuller appreciation of who I am and what I am called to be. As I move forward, I begin to more fully live out my baptismal call to serve and be the hands of God.”

Nicholas Moliterno
Moliterno and his wife Erin (Biockinger), members of Austintown Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, are the parents of Nicholas and Madeline. He is employed at Akron-Canton Regional Airport, as the Weather Observing Office Station supervisor
“The permanent diaconate program has helped me grow into a better person, husband and father by strengthening my beliefs. These values are now part of who I am, which enables my family and I to serve with courage, compassion and love.”

Robert E. Norman
Norman and his wife Nancy (DeBacco) are members of Youngstown Immaculate Conception Parish. He is a civil engineer at MS Consultants.
“The dia- conate has opened my life to the possibilities of what we as deacons can accomplish through service – helping those in need, fighting for justice and making a difference in the lives of others. Spreading the Gospel and sharing the Eucharist has been the biggest blessing in becoming a deacon.”

Robert T. Redig
Redig and his wife Judy (Fabian), members of Boardman St. Luke, are the parents of son David. He is retired from the United States Air Force Reserves (Air Reserve Technician) and the Ohio Turnpike Commission
“My diacon-al calling and the formation process have given me a keener awareness of the transforming power of the Gospel message and have instilled in me a strong desire to serve the people of God. God of light, bless and strengthen all deacons through the gift of your Spirit, that we may be worthy ministers of compassion, charity and justice in your kingdom here on earth.”

Gerolome P. Scopilliti
Scopilliti and his wife Ann Marie (Korzekwa), members of GarrettsvilleSt. Ambrose Parish, are the parents of Amanda, Rene and Adrianna. He is employed at Imperial Heating and Cooling, Inc.
“Through the diaconate I am able to do what God has called me to do, which is to serve. Through the diaconate I am able to be an instrument of God.”

Michael Seaman
Seaman and his wife Rhonda (Steffens), members of Canton St. Peter Parish, are the parents of Christopher, Daniel and Matthew. He is manager of the Stark County Board of MRDD.
“There is no higher calling than to serve others, to inspire others, and to bring Jesus to those in need. I am so honored and blessed to answer this call.”

Robert G. Simmerly
Simmerly and his wife Debra (Mendenhall), members of Warren St. James Parish, are the parents of Lisa Airwyke and Shalee Carney. He is employed at Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital
“The dia-conate to me is a call by God to serve God’s people. I am called to emulate Christ in all that I say and do. I am called to be shepherd to the people of God with love and compassion.”

Michael W. Stabilla
Stabilla and his wife Susan (Angelo), members of Kent St. Patrick Parish, are the parents of son Jacob. He is a field agent/consultant for the Knights of Columbus.
“For me the diaconate is the continuation of my personal journey toward Christ. Through service to Christ’s Church and the people, I am discovering my role in the eternal kingdom.”

Michael Waldron
Waldron and his wife Katherine (Scollard), members of Canal Fulton SS. Philip and James Parish, are the parents of Steve and Dan. He is a manager at Project Management, Rockwell Automation Inc.
“The diacon-ate is responding to God’s call to go out and love and serve His people, in the parish, and in the community. It has been an awesome journey that has strengthened my love for God, my spirituality, my prayer life and my love for the Catholic Church.”

Peter D. Watry
Watry and his wife Marcella (Osowski) are member of North Canton St. Paul Parish. He is a registered nurse clinical coordinator at D.S.I. Renal Institute. ACH Acute Unit.
“To me, the diaconate is the call to walk closer with God through serving His Church and His people. In serving God’s people I am honored to be of assistance on their journey with God.”

Raymond F. West III.
West and his wife Betty (Jimenez), members of Youngstown St. Edward Parish, are the parents of Dorian, Stephen and Ryan. He is a self-employed petroleum engineer and real estate lessor.
“A deacon is a soldier for Christ. Like a good solider, a deacon must be obedient and ready to serve unreservedly on the front line with the goal of advancing God’s kingdom.

Gregory J. Wood
Wood and his wife Barbara (Myers), members of Canton St. Peter Parish, are the parents of Cara Pribula, Megan Kumpfmiller, Patrick and Maureen. He is the pharmacist manager at Giant Eagle.
“The diacon-ate formation has been a tremendous experience. It has taught me to listen to both the word of God and the voices of my brothers and sisters. I look forward to serving the community of St. Peter’s.

 

Friday, August 22, 2008
Diocesan high schools update facilities, announce new staffers

By Marly Kosinski
Special to the Exponent

New programs, new classes, new staff and new physical features greeted high school students from across the six-county diocese as they headed back to school this week.

Cardinal Mooney High School, Youngstown, began the 2008-09 academic year Aug. 21, with freshman orientation Aug. 20. The school has an estimated enrollment of 620 students, including 310 boys and 310 girls.

One new teacher joined the 53-member staff that includes 52 lay persons. Science teacher Ray Marks comes to Mooney from the University of New England in Maine, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree.

As part of the school’s effort to expand course offerings, eight new courses have been added to the curriculum. The business department has added three nine-week courses, including personal finance and career exploration, marketing and business management, and multimedia production.

The English department will offer technical theater as a nine-week course, and the music department will include a brass and woodwind sectional. The mathematics department has added a semester-long calculus course, and the science department has added nine-week courses in oceanography and weather.

Physical improvements at Mooney include the addition of a newly paved and landscaped parking lot adjacent to the tennis courts on Erie Street, landscaping of the parking lot entrance to the building and the area around the flagpole in front, and upgrading and replacement of the school’s fire alarm system.

The school’s opening liturgy is set for Aug. 28.

Central Catholic High School, Canton, held freshman orientation Aug. 20, with all students returning to school Aug. 21. Estimated enrollment for the 2008-09 year is 490. There are 46 teachers, including 45 lay persons and one priest.

The school’s only new teacher is Greg Thurman, who will teach mathematics and coach basketball. He attended the University of Akron and graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in math education. He formerly taught at Walsh Jesuit High School and Akron St. Vincent/St. Mary High School.

New courses this year include “Holocaust Literature” in the English department and “Anatomy and Physiology” in the science department, which are both available to juniors and seniors.

The school is in the midst of a $4 million renovation that includes renovating science labs, a new 4th floor art lab, new heating and cooling infrastructure, a new cafeteria, a new front entrance and new offices. Father Robert Kaylor, school principal, said the renovation will give the school a more collegiate look and should be complete by Sept. 25. It is the first major renovation since the new section of the school was built in 1949; the old section was completed in 1906. Father Kaylor said $2.5 million in private donations has been raised so far for the project and anyone interested in donating can contact him at the school at 330-478-2131.

An opening day liturgy for freshman was held Aug. 20. Sophomores and juniors will have an opening day liturgy Aug. 26, followed by a senior liturgy Aug. 27, all in the school’s grotto and celebrated by Father Kaylor.

John F. Kennedy Junior/Senior High School, Warren, held orientation for seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders, as well as transfer students, Aug. 20. The opening day was Aug. 21 for the estimated 375 students, including 175 boys and 200 girls.

There are 21 faculty members at the senior high, with Father William Petrunak being the only non-lay person. Five faculty members are on staff at the junior high.

There are numerous staff changes at the school for the 2008-09 academic year.

Father Richard Murphy, former assistant principal at Youngstown Ursuline High School, has been named to the newly created position of president of Notre Dame School. He will oversee the day-to-day business operations of the three campuses – JFK and the pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade campuses of Warren Blessed Sacrament and St. Pius X. The position was created to give the principal and dean more time to focus on academics and spend time with students.

Another new position, dean of students, has been filled by Staci Raab. She will be in charge of student discipline and will assist the principal in addressing student needs. She also will teach science at the senior high school. Raab earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences from Youngstown State University with minors in chemistry and philosophy. She earned a master’s in biological sciences from YSU and worked as a research technologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Brian Sinchak was named new JFK principal in April after a nationwide search by the Notre Dame Board Search Committee. He is a 1997 graduate of Boardman High School who majored in religious studies at John Carroll University, graduating in 2001. He received his master’s degree in educational administration from John Carroll in 2003 and worked as a teacher and vice principal in the Cleveland area before relocating to the Youngstown Diocese.

Shirley Arroyo-Stiffy will teach Spanish in grades 7-12. She graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Spanish and a minor in elementary education, and studied abroad in both Spain and Puerto Rico.

Douglas Emancipator will teach math and science at the senior high school. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and education from Ursuline College and a master’s degree in cell and molecular biology from Case Western Reserve University. He was featured as one of the “Best and Brightest” in the May issue of “Northern Ohio Live” magazine.

Tracey Ryser will teach English at the senior high school. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in literature and philosophy from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and earned a master’s degree in English from Youngstown State University. She also has completed coursework toward her doctorate at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Michael Klockner will teach junior high school religion. He earned a bachelor’s degree in theology at the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in religious studies at John Carroll University.

Jillian Phillips, advancement director for JFK, said the science department at the senior high school will offer many new opportunities. Students will spend one class period each week doing lab work, in addition to their regular classroom work. The school also is working on a program that will allow junior high students to earn science credits for high school.

The school also has partnered with Internet search engine Google on a program that will allow students in grades 7-12 to have their own e-mail account, which may be used to chat with one another about assignments and search the Internet to help complete projects and other assignments. The students will be able to access the accounts from school or home.

JFK’s opening liturgy will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 29 at the school and will be concelebrated by Father Murphy and Father Petrunak.

SS. John and Paul Catholic School, Ashtabula, will begin classes Aug. 25. An orientation session was held Aug. 15. Estimated enrollment is 252 students, including 94 boys and 158 girls. The faculty includes 21 lay persons and six priests.

Kimberly Wynn will be the school’s new math teacher. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education at Kent State University with a major in integrated mathematics grades 7-12. Erin Adame will teach Spanish; she earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Malone College in Canton.

New classes include financial literacy and industrial arts, both of which are electives and not required for graduation. Also new this year is Option C, a software program that will enable teachers to do their grades, attendance and lesson plans online. Each student will receive a password so their accounts can be accessed by them or their parents. The program will enable parents to keep track of their child’s grades and assignments via computer and has been installed at the K-6 building as well as at the junior/senior high school for grades 7-12.

An opening day liturgy will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 15 at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, with Father Phil Miller and Father Joe Ruggerri concelebrating.

St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Louisville, held orientation for freshmen students Aug. 20, and all students returned to classes Aug. 21.Estimated enrollment for this year is 350, with 195 boys and 155 girls.

New faces among the 42-person staff, which includes 23 teachers and three administrators, are Sara Konery and Mary Pusateri. Konery received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Union College and will teach freshman and junior English for one year while another teacher is on sabbatical. Pusateri, a graduate of John Carroll University, will be choir director and will remain in her role as music director for St. Peter School in Canton.

Physical improvements at St. Thomas Aquinas include renovation of the main chapel, upgrading the mass media lab with new computers, revitalization of the athletic field into a football field, soccer field and freshman football practice field, addition of a new high jump area to the track, renovation of a storage area into an office for a teacher who is the school’s Web site coordinator, re-roofing the school’s back entrance, and transforming a large storage facility into a new wrestling room.

The school’s opening day liturgy will be celebrated at 9:35 a.m. Aug. 29 in the gymnasium with Father Thomas Dyer, school president, as celebrant and homilist.

Ursuline High School, Youngstown, began classes Aug. 20, with freshmen and transfer students starting Aug. 18. Estimated enrollment for the 2008-09 academic year is 470, with 250 boys and 220 girls. The 32-member staff includes one diocesan priest, three Ursuline sisters and 28 lay persons.

New staff members include 1964 graduate Msgr. Kenneth Miller, who was appointed associate principal by Bishop George Murry, S.J. Also joining the Ursuline faculty is 1994 graduate Jennifer Nagy DePizzo, who will teach in the science department, and Matthew Sammartino, who will teach social studies and serve in the newly created position of Director of Admissions. He earned a Master of Science degree in education administration from Youngstown State University.

Using gifts to the school’s Centennial Capital Campaign, the following projects were completed during the summer: New windows installed throughout the “Old Building,” including the replacement of wooden window sills and frames and the installation of insulated vinyl siding on the exterior of each window; the gymnasium floor professionally sanded and refinished; asbestos abatement; and landscaping, additional outdoor lighting and resurfacing of the parking lot.

Other projects under way are construction of a Victory Bell Tower, which is Phase II of the Bryson Street Gateway project; wiring of the building for complete Internet access; purchase of a wireless computer lab; and new carpet installation in the Library-Learning Center.

New courses have been added to the curriculum, including The Musical on Broadway and in Film, Composing and Arranging Music, and Multi Media Arts II.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Ursuline vs. Mooney football rivalry. On Oct. 16, coaches and members of the 1958 football team will be guests of the school for lunch and at a pep rally. On Oct. 17, a super tailgate will be held at Ursuline beginning at 5:30 p.m. All football alumni will be the school’s guests at the tailgate.

The Feast of Saint Ursula will be celebrated with a liturgy Oct. 21 at 10:15 a.m. in the school gymnasium, where the Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented.

The 6th Annual Auction, “Celebrate Our Legacy,” will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 25 at the high school. Reservations are $50.

The opening week prayer service is scheduled for Aug. 29. Celebrant and Homilist will be Msgr. Kenneth Miller, associate principal. At this time, the Alumni Board of Trustees will present Inaugural Alumni Wall of Fame Awards to: Bob Kaminski (’54), Ursuline Sister Mary McCormick (’73), Victor Moss (’47), Sally Murphy Pallante (’58), Patricia Toy Weickenand (’48), and Denise Staron Zetts (’73). This award is given to those alumni whose character, leadership and professional accomplishments exemplify outstanding achievement.

Marly Kosinski, a journalist working in Warren, freelances for the Catholic Exponent

 

Friday, August 22, 2008
IHM teens help rebuild New Orleans, learn life lessons

By Debora Shaulis Flora
Special to the Exponent

AUSTINTOWN –A group of teen-age members of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish here are the latest local ambassadors to the City of New Orleans.

They answered a call earlier this year from their pastor, Father Stephen Popovich, who challenged the parish’s last two Confirmation classes to live out the Holy Spirit by helping to rebuild hurricane-damaged homes.

Eleven eighth- and ninth-graders, along with parish chaperones, made the 1,100-mile journey in mid June. For four days, they painted interior walls, assembled scaffolding, installed concrete blocks and replaced siding, among other tasks.

In doing so, they became the first youth group from the Diocese of Youngstown to assist in reconstruction along the Gulf Coast, where much work remains after the storm damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

“I would not have asked for a more cooperative bunch of people,” said Father Edward Brienz, associate pastor at St. Columba Cathedral and local coordinator of volunteer activities in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

The travelers gathered again Aug. 1 at the IHM rectory for a picnic and post-trip conversation. The youths were encouraged to read from journals they kept during the trip to record their thoughts, beliefs and memories.

When asked about remaining needs of New Orleans residents, Alina Kielbasa, 15, expressed some regret that the IHM group didn’t get to finish any homes for persons in need. She also was hopeful that other volunteers will get the job done.

Alexandra Darby, 15, said many people don’t just need a roof over their heads, but to be reunited with their families. About 100,000 fewer people are living in the Archdiocese of New Orleans for various reasons – their homes were destroyed, they lost their jobs, or their families scattered after the storm, Father Brienz noted.

Laney Loze, 15, observed that some residents are still going hungry. Father Brienz lauded the youths who gave their lunches to persons who showed up at the work sites and asked for something to eat.

The IHM workers also saw first-hand how depression and post-traumatic stress disorder continue to affect residents. They met a young man who lost both his father and his home because of the hurricane. The young man had not gone out to eat or to enjoy a night on the town since the storm struck. Thanks to the encouragement of the teens, he broke his self-imposed exile.

“It’s hard to be down when you’re in the company of these ambassadors,” Father Brienz said. “These folks had nothing to gain. They had everything to give.”

The adults who served as chaperones said the experience changed their perspectives as well.

“All the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit were there every single day,” recalled Mary Reid, mother of participants Jacob and Josh Reid.

After seeing the situation in New Orleans, “I don’t have any problems [in my own life],” Father Popovich said. “I have some irritations and concerns. I really don’t have any problems.”

Chaperone Karen DeAmicis placed photographs from the trip in her work space. When she looks at the work site photos, she is reminded that she has “absolutely no reason to get frustrated about anything,” she said.

Although Jerry Reid did not go to New Orleans, as his wife and sons did, he has listened to the teens’ conversations about their experiences and concluded that the people of New Orleans have very good faith. None of the kids have described those residents as discouraged. “That’s the beauty of what I hear you guys say,” he told the group.

The youths had to raise money to pay for travel expenses. Some funds were made by selling prayer candles to parishioners who were asked to light them while the group was away. When the teens returned, Jerry Reid said, people lined up to look at photographs and hear details. “They were so proud of you, they wanted to be part of it,” he said.

Chaperone Shelby Mashburn railed against those who are critical of New Orleans residents for continuing to live in a storm-prone area. Parts of New Orleans may be below sea level, but the city is important in terms of national defense, culture, the petrochemical industry and Catholic Church history, Father Brienz said.

“The people are the Church. We have a responsibility to be there,” he added.

Debora Shaulis Flora is a veteran journalist working in Youngstown

New Orleans journal

Father Edward Brienz, who coordinates local volunteer efforts to rebuild homes in greater New Orleans, asked teen-agers from Austintown Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish to keep journals about their experience. The youths were asked questions about the nature of their work, their relationship with others and their prayer lives, among other things. Below are some questions they responded to after returning home.

1) What needs remain for the people of our “adopted city” of New Orleans?
“They need to keep their faith and know God will provide for them.” – Robbie Olesky, 15.
“They have a future because God has things under control.” – Amber Kovach, 15.
“The government should be more involved” in providing safety shelters for residents and rebuilding efforts. – Joe Cataline, 15.

2) What hope do you see for their needs to be met?
“There’s a lot more people like us in the world who are willing to go down there and help out.” – Jacob Reid, 15.
“The spirit there is contagious. Keep the spirits high, and keep believing in God – eventually, you will get a city.” – Robbie Olesky.

3) What do we want to share with others about our experiences?
“Even pictures can’t tell our entire experience. You have to go to know what it’s actually about.” – Alexandra Darby, 15.
“You should want to share our good times – things that make people laugh. Through laughter, that makes our lives happier.” – Jacob Reid

 

Friday, August 22, 2008
Enrollment for diocesan schools expected to remain the same

By Marly Kosinski
Special to the Exponent

Enrollment for schools in the diocese is expected to remain about the same as last year, with more than 9,000 students planning to attend for the 2008-09 academic year. The official figure will not be available until several weeks into the school year, said Dr. Michael Skube, superintendent.

There are 41 schools across the six-county diocese, one fewer than last year because of the recent closing of Navarre St. Clement School in Stark County. The number includes 35 elementary schools and six high schools.

Two new principals will be joining the diocesan staff at the elementary level. Peter Pirone succeeds Paulette Petrosky at St. Nicholas School, Struthers. He has held various administrative positions in the public school system, including his most recent position as assistant principal at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center. Pirone earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Youngstown State University and a master’s degree in administration from Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pa.

At press time, interviews were being conducted for the job of principal at SS. Mary and Joseph School in Newton Falls. The new hire will succeed Kay Suzelis.

More than 800 children were expected to be enrolled in preschool programs offered at 23 diocesan elementary schools. Dr. Skube said most children come to kindergarten having attended at least one year of preschool, and he thinks it’s important for the Catholic schools to offer the same early exposure to a formal school setting.

He said more than 300 students enrolled in diocesan schools last year as part of School Choice Ohio, a state educational program that allows parents to choose which school is best for their children regardless of their income level, and he expects about the same number to take advantage of the program this year. During the 2006-07 school year, which was the program’s first year, 125 students were enrolled.

Another state program, the Ohio Educational Choice Scholarship program (EdChoice) provides a limited number of scholarships to students who would attend a public school that has been placed in academic watch or academic emergency based on the state report cards for two out of the past three years. The money may be used for Catholic school (or other private school) tuition at either the elementary or high school level.

Dr. Skube said he was not surprised by the large increase in EdChoice enrollees last year.

“The first year of any program is always the toughest. Once parents started to understand the program, more signed up, and I think those numbers will continue to climb as more and more public school districts struggle with layoffs and program cuts,” he said.

The superintendent said parents choose Catholic schools for two reasons. One is the spiritual atmosphere that parents strive to emphasize at home, which is carried on and expanded in the classroom. The second reason is the quality education that students receive.

“Our students perform better on all standardized tests, whether state, national or college-entry. Ninety-seven percent of our students go to college and they receive the lion’s share of scholarships, compared with their public school peers,” Dr. Skube said.

He attributes the success of Catholic school students to excellent teachers, small class size, an emphasis on spirituality and a variety of extracurricular programs that make students feel included. Dr. Skube called Catholic education “a well-rounded educational experience.”

“Most parents don’t view the cost of Catholic education as a sacrifice. They look at it as an investment for the future,” he said.

Prior to the opening of school, more than 800 diocesan teachers and administrators were scheduled to attend a special in-service program Aug. 19 at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Canton. The program included Mass and sessions that allowed the faculty to mingle with school staff outside their county. It also included an awards ceremony honoring teachers, administrators and support staff for their continued years of service to the diocese. Honorees had at least five years’ service as of last school year. Coverage of that event will run in the Sept. 5 Exponent.

Marly Kosinski, a journalist working in Warren, freelances for the Catholic Exponent

 

Friday, August 22, 2008
Youngstown native Leschinsky takes perpetual vows as Salesian

Salesian Brother Michael Leschinsky, a native of Youngstown and a Cardinal Mooney High School graduate, pronounced his perpetual vows Aug. 9 in the chapel of Salesian High School in New Rochelle, New York.

He was born in Youngstown on March 26, 1976, where his family belongs to St. Matthias Parish, and he attended Cardinal Mooney High School. While going to school at Bowling Green State University, earning a degree in secondary English education, he felt a call to religious life. An ad in Vision magazine led him to the Salesians because he wanted to work with young people. Visits to several Salesian communities – the Marian Shrine, Salesian High, and Don Bosco Prep – and discovering what he calls “an authentic spiritual family” convinced him that the Salesians were for him. That conviction was deepened when he spent several summers working at Camp Don Bosco in Putnam Valley, N.Y., getting to know Don Bosco and his educational methods and devotion to Mary, Help of Christians.

Leschinsky entered the novitiate in August 2001 at Mary, Help of Christians, Parish on East 12th St. in Manhattan and made his first profession of religious vows there on Aug. 16, 2001.

Salesians who have had a great influence on Brother Mike include Father Stephen Ryan, who directed Camp Don Bosco; Father James Heuser, his first Salesian director (when he entered the candidacy program at Orange, N.J.) and later his master of novices; and Father Patrick Angelucci, his director and spiritual guide during his practical training at Salesian High School in New Rochelle. He has also had a year of training at Don Bosco Retreat House in Haverstraw-Stony Point.

Brother Michael began his theological studies for the priesthood at the Salesian school of theology in Tlaquepaque (outside Guadalajara, Mexico) and will continue this fall at Seton Hall University’s Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange, N.J.

 

Friday, August 22, 2008
Mantua St. Joe group repairs home in southwestern Virginia

By Kathi Trares
Special to the Exponent

MANTUA – We worked hard, met new people, learned new things and had a rewarding time. Once again St. Joseph Parish here sent a group to St. Joseph’s in Clintwood, Va., to take part in Sister Jean Korkisch’s Housing Repair Program this summer. We’ve been participating in this outreach effort since 1998, helping low-income residents maintain decent housing for their families. The program enlists groups to work on housing repair jobs both inside and out.

Appalachian Experience 2008 began June 21, with most of the group meeting at the Shalersville exit of the Ohio Turnpike to begin the 400-mile journey south. This year’s participants included George, Kathi and Jeff Trares, Mike and Barb Shilling from St. Joseph Parish, Jackie Kable, Marisa Grondin and Amanda Scopilliti from St. Ambrose Parish in Garrettsville, and Toni Schill (Jackie’s sister) from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Aurora. Shortly after arrival at the Dorothy Baker House, the group attended Mass and then met with Sister Jean, who welcomed the group and spoke of plans for the week’s work. Settling-in activities included planning and shopping for the week’s meals, and enjoying Breaks Interstate Park’s scenic overlooks, hiking trails and paddled boats, and relaxing.

This year’s group of nine participants had some new people and some who have participated in the program for a number of years. Working on mainly one home along with program helpers Debbie, Leanne, Brandi and Josh, the group accomplished quite a bit of work during the week. The family home of Wayne, built in 1927, was within walking distance of their home base and at one time had been a town showpiece. With much assistance from the homeowner, volunteers helped to bring it back to life. Members raised and leveled the leaning back porch, adding windows, siding, paint and awning-like shutters to open during summer months. The yard received much-needed improvements including a new fence, landscaping to walkways and flower beds, and clearing of brush and debris. Window frames and metal lawn chairs were painted, and caulking was also done. Some members of the group tackled the monumental task of clearing the many years of accumulated items and dirt inside the house. In addition, a couple of the participants finished a few items of the porch of a nearby house worked on in the previous week.

Not only do volunteers do some hard but rewarding work, meet new people, and learn new things, but cultural events, local site-seeing and discussions around Appalachian issues are also a part of the experience. On Tuesday evening, volunteers enjoyed a picnic hosted by parishioners followed by entertainment from folk singer and storyteller Ken Childress and fellow musician Jim Mullins. A visit to the Fourth World Movement Co-Op Learning Center was on Wednesday’s agenda. A human commitment to ending poverty and exclusion, The Fourth World Movement is an international, non-governmental, anti-poverty organization with consultative status in the United Nations. Vincent and Fanchette Fanelli, who take an active role in their community and are members of the Fourth World Movement’s International Volunteer Corps, are members of St. Joseph Parish in Clintwood. The center hosts a variety of programs to assist persons in finding employment, gaining new skills and confidence through computer classes, stress management sessions, quilting and weaving instruction, and other workshops. It also takes part in house-improvement projects coordinated by Binns-Counts Community Center. Information: www.4thworldmovement.org.

MAWs (Mountain Art Works) Restaurant and Gallery was Thursday evening’s point of interest, where the group enjoyed the homey atmosphere and a mountain music jam session. On Friday evening, the group heard about the coal mining industry from parishioner Larry Kennedy, who worked in the mines for more than 20 years (he now works for Social Services). Kennedy brought his tools of the trade and explained his work experience and the impact of mechanization and strip mining on the industry. Poverty remains in this Appalachian region due the impact by the coal, gas and timber industries, and absentee ownership. There are no other industries willing to commit to this area because of a lack of any major interstate system in this remote area in the southwestern tip of Virginia, and because the state government does not recognize and/or act on the many needs of this part of their state. Despite the poverty, and land and water devastation, these proud people are determined to assume control of their destiny. St. Joseph’s in Clintwood, Va., is one of several churches in this area that have formed a ministerial association to meet some of the needs of local residents.

Appalachian Experience participants feel a sense of genuine accomplishment helping the truly needy of this area be safe, warm and dry. Not only do they work hard, but they also make friends and enjoy camaraderie with those for whom and with whom they work. You are welcome to join this outreach effort in future trips, as we follow Jesus’ example and use our gifts to reach out to others!

 

Friday, August 22, 2008
Conneaut St. Mary/St. Frances merger to be celebrated Aug. 24

By Debora Shaulis Flora
Special to the Exponent

CONNEAUT – Historians will record 2008 as the year St. Mary and St. Frances Cabrini parishes here combined to create one Catholic community, but parishioners say they united in various ways many years ago.

The signs of unity are everywhere, literally. The parish offices at 744 Mill St. are marked with a sign that bears the names of both churches. The parish’s emblem, with the motto “We are all one in Christ,” tops the cover of the weekly bulletin. Ministries and committees from each parish have merged during the last decade. Financial and sacramental records of both parishes were consolidated after May 30, when the Diocese of Youngstown officially approved the merger.

Even the license plate on the pastor’s car references the initials of both churches: STMSFC.

All that remains to complete the merger is a celebration. Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., will give a blessing prayer at 3 p.m. Aug. 24 in St. Mary Church, 480 State St., then lead a one-mile procession to St. Frances Cabrini Church, on Mill Street, for benediction. Shuttle service will be available for those who cannot make the walk. The Celebration/Worship Book for the event was researched and compiled by Patricia Guglielmo. An hors d’oeuvre reception in Cabrini Hall will follow the services.

About 950 invitations have been issued, including for men and women religious who have served here in the past and ministers of other faith communities, said Carol Tinney, who with Ruth Kinney is co-chair of celebration planning. Total parish membership these days is about 900 households.

“It’s a different vision all of a sudden,” Father Raymond Thomas said of the merger. Father Thomas, pastor of the newly merged parish, had been pastor of both parishes. “Psychologically, it’s different for me now. I can speak to one parish, take care of multiple buildings.”

“It’s the people who make the parish. It’s not the buildings or statues,” said Norm Black, a past president of Parish Planning Council, usher and Eucharistic minister.

Both parishes enjoyed rich histories. St. Mary Parish was founded in 1884, about 18 years before Conneaut’s growing population pushed it from borough to city status. Given its location on the Lake Erie shore, Conneaut’s economy was built on shipping and manufacturing. As the community grew, so did membership at St. Mary, peaking at about 1,200 households by 1953, when a mission church was proposed. That mission church, St. Frances Cabrini, became an official parish the following year.

Both churches operated schools with teachers from the Sisters of the Humility of Mary. The schools merged in 1972, operating as one for another three decades until it closed due to declining enrollment. Father Thomas was appointed pastor of St. Mary and St. Frances Cabrini parishes in 1998. It was the first time the two parishes shared a priest. “When I got here, I asked people to collaborate so as not to duplicate,” he said. Over time, that philosophy led to the establishment of one Parish Planning Council, Finance Council and Worship Committee. Father Thomas implemented daily Mass and Saturday Vigil schedules that alternate between both worship sites. The rectory at St. Mary became the pastor’s official residence, and parish offices were centralized at the St. Frances Cabrini rectory.

“I think things like that really helped to ease the transition,” Father Thomas said.

The formal merger discussion began about two years ago, when someone on Finance Council asked why two parishes that shared so many facilities maintained separate budgets, Father Thomas said. The proposal had to wait until Bishop Murry was formally installed in 2007, the priest said. With diocesan support, the merger process began last spring and included a series of parish assemblies.

“By the time we had the general assembly, it was almost a non-issue,” Father Thomas said. The most-asked question was whether one of the churches would be closed. Father Thomas’s answer was no, although other parish buildings may be shuttered or sold in the future if the economy dictates it, he said.

“It’s about time” was the sentiment expressed by many people about the merger. “What difference does it make if you have one building or 100? You’re still worshiping,” said Chuck Hanson, a Finance Council member. Hanson had been a member of both parishes, having moved around Conneaut five times.

The merger also has put an end to old rivalries between the parishes, Hanson said. Some of the rivalries grew out of having two Catholic schools in Conneaut, he said. The annual parish festival began 52 years ago at St. Frances Cabrini, so the identity and role of St. Mary Parish in that event wasn’t always clear at times, he added.

Some parishes have elected to take new names after a merger. At the general assembly here, the audience of 125 persons voted overwhelmingly to keep both parish names.

The merger has been smooth because “Nothing was swept under the rug,” said James Lauer, who has been a parishioner for more than 50 years. He serves on the finance and buildings and grounds committees and who is a lector and Eucharistic Minister.

“Really, the path [Father Thomas] took made it easy for this consolidation,” Hanson said.

“Just the fact that we shared one priest for 10 years – [both churches] felt he was ours. He demonstrated that,” Tinney said. “Once when I attended Mass at St. Frances Cabrini, I felt like a visitor. Now both [churches] feel like they are mine.”

As for his part, Father Thomas noted that he was new to both parishes when he arrived in Conneaut. He believes unity is found by praying together, and he looked for opportunities, such as the celebration of the Easter Vigil, for both parishes to come together, he said.

Parish leaders also recognize that “people are letting go of some things with their connections to each parish,” said Notre Dame Sister Barbara Morscher, director of religious education. Father Thomas succeeded at taking everyone’s suggestions to make the process better, rather than appear to be a commander, she said.

The challenges that lie ahead for St. Mary/St. Frances Cabrini Parish are like those of many other parishes. The Catholic population in Conneaut has been stable in recent years, but the members are aging. Father Thomas said he averages 40 to 50 funerals per year, compared with 12 to 20 baptisms annually. About 80 children are enrolled for CCD this fall, Sister Barbara said. Interestingly, the national census of 2000 showed the median age of Conneaut residents to be 38. “People are in transition” from careers to family life, Father Thomas said, so the parish will be looking for ways to attract younger members.

Volunteerism is increasing within the parish, said Renea Roach, current president of Parish Planning Council as well as a lector, Eucharistic minister and CCD teacher. A St. Vincent de Paul chapter was established about two years ago to help families in need of food, school supplies and assistance with utilities.

Parishioners helped to paint the exterior of St. Mary Church this summer. Members take care of the memorial gardens on the parish grounds.

The parish recently finalized its vision statement: “St. Mary/St. Frances Cabrini Parish will form Catholic Christians into the Body of Christ to be a people open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit; to be an element of hope for the local community; to be aware of and active in Social Justice Issues for our community, our nation, our world.” The parish will need to work on core values further, before entering any long-range planning.

“Without a vision, you’re really lost. You need to have some direction of where you’re going,” Father Thomas said. Despite the merger, the parish will continue to recognize the anniversary of the founding of each parish. “That will still be part of the life of the community,” Father Thomas said.

Asked to describe the attributes of the parish, those interviewed made the following observations:
“The people of the parish are very cordial and friendly,” Lauer said. “You go to some parishes and people don’t know their neighbor.”
“News goes fast,” said Father David Bridling of Nigeria, who has spent the last three summers ministering in Conneaut.
“I think they are extremely generous, given their means,” said Ray Tylman, a parishioner for 34 years and a member of Finance Council.

Debora Shaulis Flora is a veteran journalist working in Youngstown

 

Friday, August 22, 2008
St. Clement School in Navarre will not open for 2008-2009

The Diocese of Youngstown’s Office of Catholic Schools has announced that St. Clement School in Navarre will not open for the 2008-09 school year. Declining enrollment in the school for the past several years was the major factor in this decision.

Ten years ago, the enrollment for the 1998-99 school year was 193 students, and for the 2006-07 school year 110 students attended. The following school year, 2007-08, only 68 students enrolled. Throughout the last school year, the Office of Catholic Schools has reviewed the conditions at the school, including enrollment and finances.

A registration process was put in place to assess the interest and commitment of parents in maintaining the school for the 2008-09 school year. Several conditions needed to be met for the school to be open for the coming school year:
A commitment/registration fee of $300 per family was required. This fee was to be applied toward the tuition for the 2008-09 school year. It would only be refunded if the school were not to open. This fee was to be in the form of a check or money order and would be accepted only from the parent or legal guardian of the student.
A minimum of 75 students needed to be registered and the commitment/registration fee of $300 per family paid by May 1, 2008.
The first tuition payment was due on Aug. 1, 2008, from the parents or legal guardians of the students registered for the 2008-09 school year. Payments were received by parents or legal guardians for 61 students of the required 75 students necessary for the opening of the school for the coming school year. Two students have since withdrawn, making the total 59 students.

St. Clement Parish was founded in 1832 and the school opened in the latter part of the 19th century, closed in 1917 and reopened in 1945. Father Edward Beneleit, pastor of St. Clement Parish, said that the parish has made every effort to keep St. Clement School a vital part not only of the parish but also of the village of Navarre.

“For generations,” he said, “St. Clement School has provided quality Catholic education and Christian values to our young people.” Father Beneleit encouraged parishioners to seek other area Catholic schools for their children and promised that the parish would make every effort to support them. He expressed gratitude to the dedicated staff of St. Clement for their service to the school.

Msgr. Robert Siffrin, vicar general of the Diocese of Youngstown, said, “It is evident that St. Clement parish community had made extraordinary efforts to support and maintain their school despite declining enrollment.” He added that the priests, religious, and dedicated lay women and men who staffed this school over these many years, and the countless families who have entrusted their children to St. Clement, deserve our gratitude and appreciation.”

Dr. Michael Skube, superintendent of Catholic Schools, added that the Diocese of Youngstown continues to be committed to providing Catholic education to those who desire it and will make every effort to provide a smooth transition for the students from St. Clement School to other Catholic schools.

For further information contact Dr. Skube, Superintendent, Office of Catholic Schools, at 330-744-8451.

 

Friday, August 08, 2008
Picnic promotes camaraderie among diocesan seminarians

By Lou Jacquet

HUBBARD – Between the good food, the camaraderie and the spiritual overlay of the day, any visitor to the annual Serra Club picnic for diocesan seminarians July 28 at Villa Maria Teresa here would come away with the same thought: the future priests of the Diocese of Youngstown enjoy being together and are looking forward with anticipation to the role that they are preparing for.

Some 14 young men were on hand for the event, which began with a Mass celebrated by Bishop George Murry, S.J. The day is an opportunity for seminarians who study in various seminaries to socialize with one another and spend time with their bishop. The Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus provide the outdoor space for the gathering, while Serra Club members and their spouses set up the picnic and prepare the cookout.

Among the seminarians who came to this year’s gathering were Bob Lanterman and Craig McHenry. Lanterman, 34, is in Second Theology at Mount St. Mary Seminary in Cincinnati; McHenry, 37, is in Pre-Theology at Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus.

Lanterman entered the Catholic Church 11 years ago at St. Christine Parish in Youngstown. He is currently a member of Streetsboro St. Joan of Arc, where he is, he says, “actively involved.”

Following high school graduation, Lanterman held part-time jobs in the fast food industry but decided to go to college after converting to Catholicism at 23, the latter a move his parents “were not supportive of.” After college, he worked as the manager of a Cellular One store in Warren. Then, in a move that would lead, surprisingly, to his religious vocation, two friends who had seen a drawing that he had done approached him to work for them as a graphic designer for a sign company they were starting.

“The whole seminary [path] began when Father Leo [Wehrlin, pastor of Garrettsville St. Ambrose and diocesan director of vocations] kept coming to me to do graphics projects for him. One was designing a sign for Our Lady of the Woods [retreat center in Liberty], which I did. After that, he invited me to be on a commission designing a Web site for diocesan vocations. For that role I did a great deal of research, immersing myself in the project.” As it happened, Lanterman was “answering those questions for myself,” he said.

Soon he called Father Wehrlin and asked to be considered for seminary studies. Now he has four more years to go. He will serve a pastoral internship next year in a diocesan parish, then finish with two more years of theology.

“My seminary experience has been good,” he told the Catholic Exponent. “I really just enjoy the fraternity of the guys, getting to know people. It’s been wonderful. Being in a parish has been enjoyable, too. I just love that – love being with people, helping and working and doing whatever they need. It’s always a surprise; when you go into a parish, you don’t know them and they don’t know you. But everyone is so kind and willing to accept you and bring you in. You find out what they need and that’s what you do.”

As he prepares for another year of seminary study, Lanterman says he is grateful for the support he gets from those he meets. “It is amazing to me,” he reflected. “It is truly humbling, getting cards and letters in the mail all the time, and just knowing that people are praying for me. I want them to know that I am praying for them as well.”

Craig McHenry, a Canton St. Joan of Arc parishioner, has been spending time this summer serving with Father Ray Thomas at the newly-merged parish of St. Mary and St. Frances in Conneaut. McHenry attended Perry High School in Perry Township, where he grew up, and following graduation hoped to get an electrical apprenticeship with a union. But he was told his math skills needed strengthening, so he went back to school. “While that was the job I had hoped for,” he said, “the Lord had other plans.”

McHenry had been baptized Catholic but never had any official Catholic instruction. So when he began to go through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes in his mid 20s, he decided to look into the seminary as well. “That’s when I first started getting the call,” he remembered. “But I found a little difficulty in getting any support for it.” The priests he talked to at the time were not responding to the idea, he said. “But the Lord just kept prompting me … the Hound of Heaven!”

McHenry holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Walsh University, North Canton – the only Catholic university in the Diocese of Youngstown – and had been discerning the priesthood idea for a long time before he finally entered. “Because of that, I wasn’t dating seriously and I had not yet moved out of my parents’ home. I figured, why anchor myself down with a house payment when I think I am going to be leaving [for the seminary]?”

But McHenry discovered that going off to the seminary proved to be “a little more difficult than I thought it would be. The first year of being away from home and getting into the seminary routine was difficult.” Now that he has been spending time in Conneaut this summer with the parish there, “I can understand where that seminary training applies and I am eager to see this second year begin.”

McHenry said he hopes people who meet him will know that “the Lord has called me and the call is from him; I am doing this for him and for his people, not for some glory-grabbing experience or for some adventure in life. For me, this is the Lord’s call.”

The Serra Clubs in the diocese are part of an international organization of men and women who work to promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life through prayer, social events, meetings and financial assistance.

 

Friday, August 08, 2008
Sacred Heart of Mary Parish celebrates 175 years

By Louise McNulty
Special to the Exponent

To many people, Sacred Heart of Mary Parish is just a little church in the country. But this little parish has been a fixture in Louisville for 175 years. And to the families – three hundred strong – who are parishioners, it is THE little church in the country.

On Aug. 17, Bishop George Murray will celebrate an anniversary Mass at the parish, followed by a blessing of the parish shrine and a dinner in the parish center.

Founded in 1833 to serve local French immigrants, Sacred Heart of Mary had a bit of a struggle for survival in its early years, alternately being designated a parish or a mission. A national business panic in 1837 delayed the building of a church, and Mass was celebrated in private homes until a 30’ x 40’ brick church was built in 1847. The present church was erected in 1876 but was extensively rebuilt after a freak windstorm ripped off three quarters of the roof in 1956. Typical of the can-do/will-do spirit of the community, within one hour of the catastrophe, 75 men showed up to help with salvage efforts.

The first parish school was opened in 1856 and continues today. Through the years the school occasionally opened and closed due to the difficulty of finding communities of women religious to staff it. The orders who taught at the school included the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary, the first teachers; Sisters of the (Holy) Humility of Mary; Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, from Lakewood, Ohio; the Dominican Sisters of Akron; and the Sisters of the Holy Ghost from Pittsburgh. Today the school has no sisters on its staff, but Notre Dame Sister Mary Barbara Klodt, parish Director of Religious Education, teaches religion for grades five through eight.

In November 1943, the school made headlines in the Cleveland Catholic Universe-Bulletin (before the Catholic Exponent was born) for being the only parish in the new Youngstown Diocese to have 100 percent enrollment of its children in the parish school. This was achieved in part because the pastor at the time, Father Ernest J. Smith, was such a proponent of Catholic education that he drove about 60 miles a day taking some of the children back and forth to school.

Chris Sbaraglia, who has been principal the last three of her five years at Sacred Heart, is equally enthusiastic about the parish school.

“It’s like a little jewel,” she said. “The classes are small; it’s a nurturing setting and a wonderful environment to teach in.” The average enrollment for the last decade has been 75 to 80 students, who come from 55 local families. And those families, said the principal, are very involved. But school support goes far beyond the parents.

“Our teachers make a financial sacrifice to be here, and the people of the parish are wonderful,” Sbaraglia said. “When we have a real need, we find that whatever we ask [for], we get.”

Supported by tuition, the parish, bingo profits and many fund-raisers involving the students’ parents, Sacred Heart, like most Catholic schools, still struggles to survive. Sbaraglia and the parish are looking for solutions, and she said, “even a 20 percent increase in enrollment would help.”

An interesting side note about Sbaraglia: Although she lives in Jackson Township, she noticed a grave stone with an ancestor’s surname in the parish cemetery at Sacred Heart. After a little research, she learned that when her great grandmother came to America from France, she had settled on a farm in the area then called Harrisburg.

Of course most people connected with the current parish and school have long known their ancestry.

Austin “Pete” Moulin, for instance, is 90 years old and has belonged to Sacred Heart of Mary all his life. An active parishioner who said he has probably served the parish in every capacity through the years, Moulin is still a member of the parish council. “It’s my home parish, my life-time parish and the parish of my parents, grandparents and back to my great grandparents. There were probably Moulins from the beginning when the parish was founded,” he said proudly.

Serving alongside Moulin on the parish council is Tom Frank, who at 56 is also a life-long parishioner. As he sees parishes across the diocese and the state consolidate, he said, “I hope we will remain a free-standing parish. I think our presence in the country [as a rural parish] is important.”

He sees the parish’s role as drawing not only Catholics but all the community together. He cites the annual parish festival, which attracts near-by residents with games, rides, food and “a variety of down-home activities.”

Frank and his fellow council members have focused on keeping the church, school and shrine in good condition, and, he said, “we’re looking ahead to preserving and improving” the buildings.

Another parishioner of long-standing who looks with hope to the parish’s future is Mary Margaret Fowler, a member of the fifth generation on her father’s side to belong to Sacred Heart of Mary.

“You should be talking to my dad [Vincent Shillig]” she said with a grin. At 94, Shillig is Sacred Heart’s oldest parishioner. Though he could not be present for the Exponent interview, fellow parishioners fondly remembered how involved “Vinny” was in anything that helped the parish.

And Fowler is also very active. A former parish secretary, at the age of 43 she volunteered to start a Sacred Heart of Mary Seniors group. Since “the group never wanted officers,” Fowler is pretty much the president, secretary and bookkeeper. The club is well known for its monthly dinner meetings and annual bus trips. Not only has the group traveled more than 35,000 miles in the last two decades, but Fowler said they were one of the first bus groups to visit New York City within two weeks after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. “CNN actually followed us around for about two or three hours and interviewed us as we toured the city,” she said. And Fowler got her 30 seconds of national fame, she said with a laugh. “After all those interviews, a few of us were actually on the [television news] show for about 30 seconds each.”

The reputation of the Skolosh family may not extend beyond the county, but they’re well known at Sacred Heart of Mary. Steve Skolosh Jr. said his grandparents bought a farm in the area in 1946 and have stayed in the area ever since. Steve and his brothers, Joe and Bill, his nephew and his three sons run a 400-acre dairy farm and live in three of the houses on the property. They also help fill the church coffers by renting and farming 35 acres that belong to the parish.

Although he was a member and worked for the Army reserves for 42 years, Steve traveled a lot while his wife took a dominant role in raising their six children, but he never really left the farm. He has been home managing it for the past eight years. Even though he said “a dairy farm is a seven day a week job,” he loves the work and is glad to be in the parish. “It’s a close-knit parish and it’s nice to see that a lot of my classmates [from the parish school] are still here.” He added that Sacred Heart is the kind of place “where you see kids and you know who their parents are.”

Compared to many other parishioners, Richard Raichel is a newcomer, although he has been at Sacred Heart for nearly 20 years, beginning with his move with his family from Pennsylvania. They didn’t originally live within the parish boundaries, but Raichel’s wife, Barbara, found the Sunday Mass schedule convenient for her working hours. She brought home tales of warm and friendly people who introduced themselves to the stranger in their midst. That led the family to join the parish. Today they live only minutes away.

Raichel said his wife was right. “The people here are very warm and accepting of new parishioners, and they are brought into the fold easily.”

A retired accountant, Raichel said he is busier now than when he worked, but he is doing what he wants to do. That includes working on Monday and some Tuesdays as an office volunteer at the church, helping the parish bookkeeper, recording collections, and auditing bingo. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and serves as a lector, cantor, member of the choir, and works with a group of men who help with landscaping and other parish projects to spare the parish part of the cost of hiring contractors.

Richard Raichel’s “pitch-in” attitude is pretty typical of parishioners at Sacred Heart of Mary, according to Father Howard Ziemba, pastor, who has shepherded the parish for the past four years.

The pastor noted that the church is cleaned weekly by groups of people he refers to as “committees.”

“There are about five or six groups of volunteers, each usually made up of two families. They set up their own schedule and sweep, clean dust, wash and take care of whatever is needed,” the pastor said. “It’s really unique to this parish. I’ve never seen it before.”

And that’s the way the parish is handling its 175th anniversary celebration. Father Ziemba said parishioners wanted to make the event low-key and family oriented. “We just have some informal groups of parishioners who have worked together on events and [on] shrine and church refurbishing.” The church has been painted and updated, windows restored, the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary plaques are being installed on a walkway leading to the shrine, and the school children are gathering artifacts to place in a time capsule in the parish cemetery.

The events will culminate in the jubilee Mass celebrated by the bishop and the dinner to follow.

Father Ziemba runs the parish, aided by a very small staff. In addition to Chris Sbaraglia and Sister Mary Barbara, the parish is served by secretary Stephanie Stanek and bookkeeper John Lamberjack.

The pastor summed up his view of the parish simply: “I call it the Little Parish on the Prairie. It’s like a little bit of heaven, even on the windiest days of the year – and we get winds, since we’re located at one of the highest elevation points in Stark County.”

“And the people,” he continued, “they’re down to earth, family-oriented people who are very strong in their faith. I feel honored and blessed to be here with them.”

 

Friday, August 08, 2008
Groups from diocese help New Orleans with rebuilding process

By Debora Shaulis Flora
Special to the Exponent

YOUNGSTOWN – “Love Transforms Deep Waters.” Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Slidell, La., north of New Orleans, adopted that slogan nine months ago as it launched a capital improvement campaign. Nearly three years after Hurricane Katrina left Gulf Coast communities submerged in flood waters – at levels so high the church’s roof caved in – the parish seeks about $1 million of $8 million needed to rebuild its worship space.

Parishes from the Diocese of Youngstown have been recruiting members to help with home rebuilding efforts throughout the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Ask local volunteers if their work has made a difference in the lives of displaced homeowners, or in their own hearts, and their answers follow the same theme: Love indeed seems to be transforming the deep waters of indifference, loss, fear, discouragement and abandonment.

“The people there actually bring your spirits up,” said Colleen Hendel of Youngstown, a member of Youngstown St. Patrick Church, who worked on a home construction project last spring.

Father Edward Brienz, associate pastor of St. Columba Cathedral, became the point man between this diocese and New Orleans soon after the hurricane struck. His work began through Catholic Charities and evolved into an ecumenical effort, he said.

As of June, about 22,000 households in the Gulf Coast region remained in temporary, post-storm housing, according to National Public Radio coverage of a congressional hearing.

Reconstruction is “moving along well for folks with money” – that is, savings or insurance, Father Brienz says. He estimates that no rebuilding has occurred in 30 to 35 percent of the city because those residents were living from paycheck to paycheck before the hurricane occurred. “We saw neighborhoods that really haven’t been touched since the flood,” said Father Ed Noga, pastor of Youngstown St. Patrick Parish.

“The TV coverage did not do this destruction justice,” said Atty. John C. Thorne Jr. of New Waterford, who was baptized, confirmed and married at Youngstown St. Patrick’s.

About 20 contingents from the Diocese of Youngstown, numbering about 300 people, have worked on 52 home sites in greater New Orleans in the last few years, Father Brienz said. Volunteers have gutted damaged homes; installed new roofs, floors and carpeting; rewired electrical service; painted walls; installed hurricane stripping; and more.

Workers have come from various parishes – including Leetonia St. Patrick, where Father Brienz was administrator in 2005, Louisville St. Louis, Youngstown St. Patrick and Austintown Immaculate Heart of Mary. Walsh University in North Canton “has been a great collaborator,” the priest said. He also cited the assistance of YouthBuild, a worker training program; Ohio Edison; Snovak Floor Covering of Youngstown; Pitzulo Brothers Co. home remodeling of Youngstown; electrician Sam Williams of Louisville; and Joe Fraser, a General Motors retiree from Columbiana St. Jude Parish who drives volunteers in his passenger van to Louisiana as needed.

Bishop George Murry, S.J., and the local Catholic Charities office have been extremely supportive, he added.

Whenever a local volunteer group organizes, Father Brienz meets with them before the trip to “support them spiritually,” he said, and to prepare them to experience what he calls a “battle scene.” Part of preparing them is what he calls being “a careful travel agent,” advising them on what to pack, where they will sleep and how they should conduct themselves. Among residents, there are numerous cases of post traumatic stress disorder and clinical depression, he noted.

“The main advice is, do a lot of listening,” Father Brienz said. “The biggest gift they can give New Orleans is to show up, be prayerful and be with the people of New Orleans. Bricks and mortar are secondary. Having people travel 1,100 miles at their expense and do whatever is needed is better than hiring a contractor” from the residents’ perspective.

Father Brienz continues to travel to New Orleans once a month on average to line up volunteer opportunities, visit and pray with workers, negotiate building material prices and preside at Masses when priests from that archdiocese need personal time off, he said. With so many churches having been damaged during the storm, Father Brienz has celebrated Masses in carports and under tents. “My congregation keeps changing,” he added.

Father Brienz has experienced high and low moments in post-Katrina New Orleans. For a time, he stayed at St. Julian Eymard Parish, which was named after a French saint and was among the first parishes to reopen after the hurricane. In terms of membership, “the demographics got scrambled” as people relocated to Houston and Atlanta, he said. Earlier this year, the archbishop of New Orleans included St. Julian Eymard on a list of parishes to be merged with other churches. St. Julian Eymard was to close Aug. 3.

“The people there are understanding,” Father Brienz said. “They are hurt, but they are accepting.”

That’s typical in centuries-old, historically Catholic New Orleans, from Father Brienz’s perspective. Residents “saw the storm not as a test, and certainly not as a punishment, but an opportunity that God is with [them], even if [they] don’t live in paradise,” he said. “They are getting through.”

Father Noga noticed the people’s appreciation almost immediately after he and 10 parishioners arrived in Slidell for one week last April. St. Patrick is a sister parish of Our Lady of Lourdes and has conducted fundraisers here to assist Slidell’s only Catholic church with its capital campaign.

The St. Patrick volunteers stopped first at Our Lady of Lourdes, where Msgr. Frank Lipps and Father Kyle Dave immediately offered to take them to dinner. At the restaurant, a couple approached their table, asked if they were out-of-town volunteers and thanked them for their service, Father Noga said.

The spirit of cooperation isn’t confined to those devastated areas. “I was amazed at the network that has developed through Catholic Charities and Father Brienz,” Father Noga said. On their drive to Slidell, the St. Patrick group was invited to stay overnight in Tennessee, in a Boy Scout building that is owned by a Presbyterian church. That gave the travelers a safe place to sleep, shower and have a snack, all at no cost. “The fact that they are opening this up for people coming back and forth is pretty interesting,” Father Noga said. In Slidell, where Peace Lutheran Church was destroyed, the Lutheran Synod spent $500,000 to turn a damaged building into a new worship center with dormitory-style housing and a full kitchen for ongoing use by volunteer workers, Father Noga said. The St. Patrick group stayed there, too. From towels to power tools, “almost everything we used was on the honor system,” the priest said.

Hendel joined St. Patrick two years ago. She and her sister, Mary Eileen “Peach” Green, are seamstresses by trade. They were self-employed, making window treatments and upholstering furniture, until recently, when Green relocated to Texas to assist their elderly parents.

Hendel and Green decided immediately to go to Slidell because “we love to build,” Hendel said. Although they had some experience with using tools, Hendel said lack of construction experience shouldn’t keep people from volunteering. “Habitat hires amazing people who have great skills and teach people quickly,” she said.

In Slidell, each sister worked on a different house. Hendel learned how to install shingles. Green earned the admiration of seasoned workers because she was careful and deliberate when asked to measure materials. Green was “an incredible contractor,” Thorne said.

Green and Thorne were working at the same site one day when an elderly man arrived on foot and said he had something to show them. Thorne wondered if the man wanted to sell them something. Instead, he thanked them, shared photographs of his neighborhood before the hurricane and told them about another Ohio volunteer crew that had fixed the home he shares with his invalid wife. “He was just so overjoyed to see more people [at work]. He wants his neighborhood to come up, too,” Hendel said.

Thorne was impressed by the investment Habitat for Humanity makes in each building site. “They were very conscious about the materials,” he said. That had an impact on workers: “Without knowing who would get the house, everyone built it literally as if they were building it for themselves.”

They didn’t finish the homes they worked on, but “what we did down there will mean something to somebody,” Thorne said.

They worked hard, eight hours per day, but volunteers also had opportunities to visit the French Quarter in New Orleans, tour the devastated Ninth Ward neighborhoods, attend a baseball game and participate in music and prayer at church. “I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I did,” Hendel said.

Local efforts to rebuild New Orleans neighborhoods build up the church in Youngstown as well, Father Brienz said. Catholics can participate in a mission experience without leaving the country for long periods of time, or learning a new language, he said. Those who can’t travel or perform physical work can support the project through prayer, fundraising and donations to Catholic Charities, he added.

At Youngstown St. Patrick, many volunteers who worked in Slidell are now assisting the local Habitat for Humanity chapter with a construction project near the church, on Kenmore Avenue, Father Noga said. Hendel is among those who have been showing up to work on Saturdays.

Thorne’s experience in Slidell has changed his relationship with other parishioners. “I underwent a real catharsis and bonded with those people,” he said. Before the trip, “I knew some of them well enough to say ‘hi’.” These days, they greet one another with hugs and affection.

“I never expected that to happen, but I’m glad it did and I’m glad I went,” Thorne said.

Debora Shaulis Flora is a veteran journalist working in the You

 

Friday, August 08, 2008
Louisville group helps build new ‘Carter’ home

By Pamela Phillips
Special to the Exponent

In May, a group of volunteers from the Louisville area went to New Orleans on a mission trip to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina. Although the hurricane took place nearly three years ago (August 2005), there are more houses in need of repair than have been repaired or rebuilt. The group was organized by Catholic Charities of the Youngstown Diocese under the leadership of Father Edward Brienz, in co-operation with St. Louis Parish. Besides parishioners from St. Louis, some volunteers in the group came from Salem, Niles, Walsh University and other churches. Volunteers’ expenses were covered by funds donated by St. Louis parishioners, local businesses and raised by the volunteers themselves.

While in New Orleans, the group was housed at Camp Hope, a former school that has been repaired sufficiently to provide shelter, i.e., dorm rooms with bunk beds, shower rooms, a cafeteria staffed by AmeriCorps volunteers, a First Aid station, meditation room, laundry facilities and a computer room. Camp Hope is a volunteer camp funded and managed by NOAHH (New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity). Because the week the group was there was a “Carter Week,” instead of “brown bag” lunches, all of the Carter volunteers were treated to hot lunch, served near the building site, and provided by the Salvation Army. A “Carter Week” meant the former American president and his wife would be coming to New Orleans to work on a Habitat home. (Jimmy Carter is known for his work with Habitat for Humanity.)

As it happened, the house our group was helping to build had been chosen to be the house that President Carter would work on. This also meant the house had to be completed to a certain point before the president’s arrival. To some in our group this meant working the second shift and/or working overtime, working while it rained and working in the mud.

This future home was also a “Blitz Home.” The house was to be completed in one week, along with five others Habitat planned to build in that neighborhood that week. All six were completed and dedicated, despite storm delays and rain.

The current building code in New Orleans requires that new homes and rebuilt homes be raised a specified height off the ground, depending on the location and distance from the nearest levee. The group worked hand in hand with other volunteers and Habitat for Humanity employees to build the house. Some members of the group were first asked to pick up trash in the neighborhood and trim and edge side walks in a near-by playground area. The needs of the community are varied and many.

There are many homes and businesses on which absolutely no work has been done. In any given neighborhood new homes stand side by side with rebuilt homes, homes that have been untouched since the hurricane but are sound enough to be rebuilt, houses that are literally falling down, and vacant lots where homes once stood. Vacant homes are a serious safety problem in many neighborhoods.

There are acres and acres where FEMA trailers that can no longer be used due to the health hazards they present are parked. There are still sunken boats in canals that have not been removed. Destroyed school buses, police cruisers, and private automobiles fill lot after lot. Tires seem to be stacked everywhere. Some land owners have not been located or have not stepped forward. Buildings belonging to large chains like Taco Bell and Sears, strip malls, many churches and schools are simply boarded up. Jobs are scarce due to the number of businesses that were destroyed.

The media plays up the fact that the French Quarter is open for business – it is – and that New Orleans welcomes visitors. This also is true; but that area had only six to eight inches of water. The area where our group of volunteers worked was under anywhere from six to 20 feet of water. It took more than two weeks for that water to recede. Some schools are open, are operating with limited resources, and are housed in trailers. The police department is operating from trailers in many instances. So much still needs to be accomplished before people can live in their homes. Rental property is scarce and what is available is renting at twice the pre-Katrina rate.

The members of the group from the Louisville area felt satisfied and fulfilled with their individual and group contributions; the families and individuals we spoke with are so grateful for all the volunteers. They are so hopeful for their own lives and for the survival of their community. To paraphrase Michelle May, a member of our group, we Americans are quick to say “… this is awful, the government should do something. Well, we are the government and we did do something.”

If you are interested in volunteering to aid Katrina victims, there are numerous groups you can contact. Camp Hope can be reached directly at 504-861-2077, 504-866-6004, and www.habitat-nola.org.

 

Friday, August 08, 2008
Office of Lay Ministry Formation set to begin 14th year

By John Damico
Special to the Exponent

In its simplest definition, Lay Ministry is the work of those who are not clergy serving in the faith community. Lay ministers are those who seek out a way to be of service to the reign of God. They take to heart that faith is a way of life as well as a set of beliefs or creeds.

An important achievement of the Second Vatican Council was affirming the understanding of the Church as the “people of God” and not simply a hierarchical structure, and as a “sacrament” to the world with an active mission in all areas of human society. Laity felt this call to participate in a greater way as part of the “people of God” and responded.

For example, in a variety of parish settings lay people now make pastoral visits to the sick. They might plan liturgies, oversee the music groups, or schedule the lectors and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. They help coordinate education and faith-sharing programs for adults and children who attend public schools. They help prepare couples for marriage. Some laity use their gifts keeping track of parish finances or facilitating classes for those considering joining the church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) processes. Laity are represented on parish councils and diocesan boards.

Going hand in hand with this greater participation in the Church’s mission by lay people was a growing need for more training and formation. In response to that need, the Diocesan Office of Lay Ministry Formation was developed in 1995 specifically to help in the formation of lay ministers.

We seek to help lay ministers by nourishing their life of faith and developing greater understanding of the Scriptures, the mission of Jesus Christ and our Catholic tradition. There is classroom training and community building through retreats, prayer services and team activities. There is also networking with others in similar ministries.

Currently, we have five members of the Foundations in Ministry faculty, including myself as the director. The other members of our faculty are: Sister of Notre Dame Mary Agnes O’Malley, parish director of Religious Education at St. Mary Parish, Orwell, and Sacred Heart Parish, Rock Creek; Father Thomas Dyer, pastor of St. Ann Parish, Sebring, and president of St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Louisville; Father John Jerek, vicar for Clergy and Religious and administrator of St. John the Baptist Parish, Campbell; and Father Greg Fedor, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Orwell, and Sacred Heart Parish, Rock Creek.

Many lay people are increasingly recognizing the need to serve rather than be served. There is a great need for Adult Learning and more expertise in this growing Lay Ministry environment, and many are searching to be more grounded in their Catholic faith and identity.

One such person is Tom Furhig, a member of St. Paul Parish, North Canton, who participated in the Foundations in Lay Ministry program during the 2006-07 offering. I recently asked him to share some thoughts on that experience. He shared that he was “very glad that I did” have that experience. “The program is a great help for anyone who wants to do more in his or her faith journey, but isn’t quite sure what” they want to do, he said. “It will help to discern better what that might be. The course offers a chance to interact with others in group study, to read and learn more about the Church, its mission of evangelization, and to grow spiritually in a personal way.” Furhig added that for him personally “it gave some new insights for my current ministry in RCIA and led me to enroll last Spring in the Master of Arts in Theology program offered at Walsh University.”

We are always seeking to identify more persons or couples who are candidates for lay ministry formation. Information about the upcoming Lay Ministry Formation classes starting again in September is sent to all parishes of the diocese of Youngstown. You are a strong candidate for the Lay Ministry Formation program if you want to be better equipped to serve your parish’s ministry activity. I encourage you to find out more about this proven worthwhile resource for the lay ministry of our diocese. Since 1995, the Office of Lay Ministry Formation has existed as a resource to help parish ministry by helping train and form those lay ministers who are serving in that ministry.

For information on registering for the upcoming Foundations in Ministry course held at three sites starting this September call me at 330-744-8451, ext. 272.

John Damico is the director of the diocesan Lay Ministry Formation office

Foundations in Ministry course calendar

All Foundations in Ministry participants must attend the opening session 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Sept. 20 at St. Michael Parish, Canfield – Rt. 46, north of the Village Green. Participants have the choice of attending:

Mahoning/Columbiana Regional Site: Ursuline Center Auditorium, Canfield, Mondays 7-9:30 p.m. Sept. 22, 29; Oct. 6, 20, 27; Nov. 3, 10, 17; Dec. 1, 15; Jan. 5, 12, 26; Feb. 2, 9; March 2, 9, 16.

Stark/Portage Regional Site: St. Louis Parish, School Auditorium, Louisville, Wednesdays 7-9:30 p.m. Sept. 24; Oct. 1, 8, 22, 29; Nov. 5, 12, 19; Dec. 3, 17; Jan. 7, 14, 28; Feb. 4, 11; March 4, 11, 18.

Ashtabula Regional Site: Mother of Sorrows Parish, Parish Center, Ashtabula, Thursdays 7-9:30 p.m. Sept. 25; Oct. 2, 9, 23, 30; Nov. 6, 13, 20; Dec. 4, 18, Jan. 8, 15, 29; Feb. 5, 12; March 5, 12, 19.

All participants must attend the closing retreat on March 28, 2009, from 2:30-7:30 p.m. at a location to be announced. Final availability of scheduled courses is subject to a minimum class size.

 

Friday, August 08, 2008
Nun’s talk on media calls for ‘communication, not control’

By Lou Jacquet

COLUMBIANA – Parents and others who deal with the media often speak of controlling what their children watch. The more difficult but far better thing to do would be to learn how to communicate with them about what they are seeing and learning.

Sister Helena Burns, a member of the Daughters of St. Paul community of women religious, made that point during a workshop on “Media is a Faith Thing: The Challenge and Promise of Media and Technology” recently at St. Jude Church here. She repeated the presentation in a longer format the next day for “all who share the Good News.” The Boston native holds communication credentials from St. John’s University in New York, the Jesuit Media Project in Toronto and has also studied screenwriting.

Sister Helena began by noting that it is almost impossible to be on top of the whole world of media. Rather, she said, “pick something you like, a topic that you already care about,” and learn everything you can about it. She spent several minutes outlining sources for those interested in specific areas such as the Internet, technology, computers, video games, best-selling CDs, and the like.

Media in its most comprehensive form, she told those present, involves technology, content and culture. Her approach to media involves how the media impacts “ourselves, our families and our ministries,” she added, asking for suggestions on the most pressing challenges that the media presents today, and what the areas might be in which it holds the most promise.

She touted the importance of “media mindfulness,” which she said is the faith component of media studies. “What is your strategy for helping those you minister to be media mindful?” she asked. “What are you doing right now to help yourself, your family and those you minister to, to be more aware of the media in a faith context and put their faith and the media together?”

The media presents plenty of challenges to the modern believer, she said, including the technology itself and the “whole media culture that we are living in.” Participants were asked to name challenges that media presents to parents and others in our society. Their list included:
keeping up with new technology
violence in the media
dealing with video addiction
dealing with online shopping addiction
finding appropriate Catholic sites with authentic teaching
making faith interesting in a secular society.

Sister Helena suggested “Technology Tools for Your Ministry” from 23rd Publications as an excellent source on some of these issues, and said nobody interested in media and faith should be watching TV without recording every show. “Get that TiVo going,” she said. “Get that VCR going. “It’s an inexpensive way to find material that you can discuss.”

Workshop participants had a harder time naming positive things about the media, coming up with the fact that media makes the world smaller, makes religious education materials easily available in various technologies, and the fact that movies can tell faith stories in attractive ways.

“I’m here to tell you that media literacy and media mindfulness is the answer to all these problems, challenges and promises,” Sister Helena stressed. “I hope you will all agree by the end of this workshop.”

Turning to the question of reality versus “virtual reality,” the nun noted that catechists, parents, grandparents and ministers “not only have to parent and minister in reality, but must parent and minister in virtual reality as well.”

While parents and others often talk about the need to “control the media” in their homes, she said, control is not the issue. The real key is communication. “Control is for the moment,” she explained. “Communication is for a lifetime.” That phrase is used often in media literacy circles, she added. “The important thing is whether you are communicating with that person or youngster. When children are young, we have to control access because they can’t distinguish between reality and virtual reality. They need your help and guidance. But as they get older, are you able to control their media? Even at six or seven, can you control what they are seeing at their friends’ houses or what they are talking about at school? No, media is everywhere. So the most important thing we do is to communicate constantly about media.”

While communication about the media is difficult for parents who are busy with running a household, she said, it is essential. “The kids snap on a show, and you want to say, ‘shut that garbage off.’ But the better thing would be to stop, gather your thoughts, articulate why you don’t want them watching a program, or take the time to watch it with them so you can discuss the positives and negatives.”

Doing so is critical, Sister Helena said, “because if we come down negative on the media, that’s all that young people hear from us – negative, negative, negative. That is just going to shut them off. It is so easy to media bash rather than media engage.” Adults will only have credibility with youngsters and teens about media if they sometimes have positive things to say about it as well, she added. “Communication is hard work but it is totally worth it,” she stressed. “It is the only thing that works, in the end, and has lasting value.” Making the effort to communicate about the media, rather than condemn or criticize, shows love, she said. “Communication is really about love.”

Turning back to the question of how to find appropriate programs and materials to teach Catholic values, Sister Helena told participants that persons who minister should be taking opportunity of the billions of dollars Hollywood has spent on creating programs with superb technical quality. The programs/movies/games “may not have content or morality” that we approve of, she said, “but they present a wonderful opportunity to bring things up that really need to be talked about, issues that we desperately need to discuss with young people.” A news program might raise the issue of euthanasia, for example, which a teen has been wondering about. A movie might raise an issue that could lead to a family discussion on life and death.

“You could ask them,” Sister Helena said, getting a large burst of affirmative laughter from the audience, “should they have ‘offed’ grandma in that show?’ Let’s talk about it.”

“What is your particular attitude toward the media?” she asked. “Whatever it is, you will communicate that. Our attitude toward the media is the first thing that people are going to know about us.” She said she used to “hate the media” but now loves it “because I make media work for me.” Doing so takes discipleship, discernment and discipline, she told those present. “I won’t disassociate myself from shows that don’t honor Jesus Christ; because I watch something does not mean that I agree with it. I ask how something in media influences our relationship with God, myself, others, and creation.”

Sister Helena suggested keeping a media journal to reflect on watching a program, for example, or discerning whether a person is watching too many programs. Keeping quotes from various shows and books can also be a learning tool, she said. “Be more intentional about the media you are using,” she offered, noting that praying before one uses a given form of media can also help a person get more out of the experience and, at the same time, make good value judgments about the media being used.

Among other points she made during the presentation was the fact that “new media does not replace old media; new media takes its place alongside old media.”

 

Friday, July 25, 2008
Six-part series on poverty, racism used World Café format

By Debora Shaulis Flora
Special to the Exponent

CAMPBELL – Years ago, great leaders emerged and people followed them. Today, society’s problems are too complex and entangled for a few persons to solve them.

“Unless we turn to each other in conversation ... There’s no great leader out there who’s going to come in and rescue us,” says Humility of Mary Sister Ruthmary Powers.

“Creating a culture of dialogue” was the aim of the six-part Mahoning Valley Regional Conversations on Poverty and Racism, sponsored by the Social Action Office of the Diocese of Youngstown and The Raymond John Wean Foundation of Warren. The conversations began in June and ended earlier this month.

The World Café format was used during the series. The World Café is a global movement to inspire conversation among diverse groups of people about questions that matter in workplaces, government and communities. The basis of café conversations is that people possess the wisdom and creativity to solve great challenges, and getting to that deeper knowledge requires context and focus. The format and guidelines are available from The World Café Community at www.theworldcafe.com.

The goal here was to gather data from economically disadvantaged persons, not from service providers, in order to develop anti-poverty and anti-racism initiatives in the diocese, said Sister Ruthmary, who was the facilitator of the local conversations. She is the former administrator of the Sisters of Charity Foundation in Cleveland, where she prepared grant proposals to benefit women religious and taught at various schools in the Diocese of Cleveland.

The café conversations coincided with other social justice efforts in the Valley, Sister Rosemary noted. Local Baptist ministers have convened conversations recently to discuss racism in light of this country’s first African American major political party presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama. The interdenominational alliance known as ACTION has been working to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods. The Wean Foundation has provided a grant for the hiring of community organizers in Youngstown and Warren to help residents build hope and create wealth. Sister Rosemary said she is encouraged by a “continual weaving and reweaving and networking” to bring groups together and address problems.

Whether groups gathered in Youngstown or Warren or Campbell, at churches or social service agencies, World Café participants were asked to respond to three progressive, open-ended questions from their perspectives:

How do race, gender, social class and education contribute to keeping people trapped in a cycle of poverty?

What do you see as assets or gifts that you have personally, in the neighborhood or in the city that can help to overcome keeping people in poverty?

What are some of the resources needed to help build wealth in the city and its neighborhoods to lift people from poverty?

“You bring people together and it’s amazing,” Sister Rosemary said of the conversations.

One session was held June 18 at Campbell St. Rose of Lima Parish. Most of the 30 participants were Spanish-speaking men and women of varying ages. The evening began with a Mass, followed by a simple supper that was served in the church’s lower level. From there, participants were invited to move to an adjoining room and be seated at one of many cafe-sized tables for up to four persons. The tables were covered with white paper. Markers were provided so persons could jot down their thoughts and conversation themes.

Sister Rosemary used chalkboards to mount paper banners that bore thoughts and themes from previous café conversations, so participants could build on those ideas. Some comments dealt with the need for more stores in neighborhoods, as well as people who have the knowledge to operate those stores. Some cited easy credit terms as a contributing factor to poverty. One person suggested adoption of a forgiveness clause for persons who made mistakes as youths and continue to suffer as adults. Another said a business incubator for “real people” is needed here.

One person remained at each table as a host and timekeeper, while the others moved from table to table as a new question was posed every 20 or so minutes. The session concluded with a whole-group conversation, during which patterns of thought were identified and recorded on those paper banners as possibilities for action.

Among those who assisted Sister Rosemary in Campbell were Father Gerald DeLucia, pastor of Campbell St. Rose of Lima; Deacon John Rentas, who also served as a translator; and Humility of Mary Sister Pat Flores, who is a volunteer at the parish. Many themes emerged from the conversation at St. Rose of Lima: Education is critical; kids need to be kept out of trouble; and the poor suffer because of a lack of jobs, transportation problems, cost of medications and single-parent households.

“There are degrees of poverty, but we don’t want [people to be] dirt-poor,” said Nida, one participant, in conversation at a table.

Another woman said she was helping to finance college tuition for a young person who doesn’t have parental support. “You are a resource,” Deacon Rentas told her.

Sister Rosemary was to use data gathered during the World Café sessions to compile a report as soon as possible for the Social Action Office and Wean Foundation. She believes the report will affect the future activities of Catholic Charities. “What is going to be absolutely critical to this process is follow-up,” she said.

Debora Shaulis Flora is a veteran journalist living in Youngstown

Café etiquette
The rules of World Café are as follows:
Focus on what matters.
Contribute your thinking.
Speak your mind and heart.
Listen to understand.
Link and connect ideas.
Listen together for insights and deeper questions.
Play, doodle, draw – writing on the tablecloths is encouraged.
Have fun!

 

Friday, July 25, 2008
Retired priests — They value their vocation, like to be busy, need to feel needed

EDITOR’S NOTE: The life of a retired diocesan priest is probably a mystery to most Catholics. The main article on this page, written by managing editor Elaine Polomsky Soos, provides an overall picture of retirement issues faced by priests in the Diocese of Youngstown. The side articles, written by free-lance writer Mary Ellen Pellegrini, give a glimpse into the interests and involvements of three retired priests.

“Adjust, adjust, adjust.” Father Thomas McCarthy finds himself offering these words of advice on a regular basis to retired priests of the diocese.

The words can mean different things to different priests – and sometimes different things at various times in their lives. As the Diocesan Delegate to Retired Priests, Father McCarthy offers the words when a priest is no longer able to drive and must depend on others to get where he wants or needs to go. He sometimes utters the words when a man who has been living in a familiar rectory has to move to a new residence to accommodate his failing health. Sometimes the words become appropriate when a priest who thrived on administrative responsibility or “being there” for his parishioners finds he must adjust to the fact that he is no longer able to do those things that gave him such satisfaction and joy. The same loneliness and lack of a sense of purpose that plagues older persons in other vocations can visit retired priests and not let go.

But Father McCarthy’s job involves more than just speaking words of encouragement. A reporter interviewing him senses his deep commitment to empathically “walking beside” these former pastors and associate pastors, these retired heads of boards and committees, these innovative thinkers, healing ministers and connectors of people who now often lack people with whom they themselves can connect.

“Priesthood has been their vocation, so, though their status changes when they retire and some of their activities change, their mission to try to serve the people of God to the best of their ability hasn’t changed,” the priest said. Many retired priests still help out at parishes by celebrating Mass there on weekends or hearing confessions as needed. Some join in at parish events and festivities. Some have chapels in the settings in which they reside, where they can offer Mass.

“My job is to keep reminding people that their keeping in touch with a retired priest is a wonderful thing, greatly appreciated, and goes a long way” toward the priest’s emotional and physical wellbeing, Father McCarthy said. He urges pastors to include in their parish bulletin, every now and then, the addresses of retired priests who served the faith community. Some groups, such as the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women in Stark County, have taken it upon themselves to remember all the diocese’s retired priests with birthday cards and other greetings throughout the year, the priest noted.

Though most of the 55 retired priests live within the six counties of the Diocese of Youngstown, some have homes elsewhere – from Lake Erie to Florida and Connecticut to Arizona, the priest noted. Upon retirement, diocesan priests receive a pension and Social Security. From this, they may choose to live in their own or their family’s private home; a retirement community, including one of two homes for retired priests in the diocese (Emmaus House in Louisville and Villa Maria Teresa in Hubbard); an assisted living residence or a nursing home. Some priests buy a home together.

Father McCarthy said he tries to make regular visits to as many of the local retirees as possible, and he keeps in contact with the out-of-towners by phone, using occasional trips he takes as opportunities for a personal visit.

His conversations with retired diocesan priests take as many directions as there are retired priests, he said. They talk about politics, sports, books they are reading, their dreams for their own future or the future of the Church and the world. They delight him with their stories from the past. He asks them about the ministries they are yet involved in, their families, interests and hobbies – even sometimes a new talent they have discovered in retirement. And for those who are not able to be active at this point in their lives, he is there as a listening ear. He learns about their prayer lives; the importance of Christ, the Eucharist, the priesthood in their lives; their worries and fears; and the peace with which many greet each day.

“A retired priest can have a different appreciation of the priesthood, a picture of it that goes beyond just the activities,” Father McCarthy said. Many of the retired priests who are able to attend a priestly ordination ceremony seem to take special delight in that event, he said. It’s as though they see the priesthood full-circle, he offered.

During his in-person or phone visits, Father McCarthy makes it a point to learn the names of a priest’s family members, his doctors, and his wishes regarding his health care (including help in understanding his health care plan, and any concerns he has about end-of-life care, living will, power of attorney, etc.). To this end, Father McCarthy is in close contact with the family members of many of the retired priests, he said. A bond often forms between these family members and Father McCarthy and others from the diocese who minister to retired priests (including the Vicar for Clergy and Religious Services and other clergy, religious and lay persons). In the case of retired priests who are living in assisted living or nursing home facilities in out-of-town locations near their families (or in the homes of family members), Father McCarthy said, he always asks if there is anything the diocese can help the families with.

“The diocese has a special connection and a responsibility to its retired priests” and does a good job seeing that they are cared about and for, Father McCarthy said. Bishop Thomas Tobin appointed Father McCarthy to the post of delegate to retired priests five years ago, believing that there was an important need for this ministry, he said. Bishop George Murry, S.J., supports Father McCarthy in his role, often asking the priest which retiree lives close to a parish, school, etc., that he is visiting, so he might stop in for a personal visit. The bishop has also visited several of the retired diocesan priests who live out of state.

Father McCarthy said he has gained a great deal from his close association with the retired priests. “They are my teachers for my own future,” said the former pastor of Mantua St. Joseph Parish and the diocesan Priests’ Personnel Advisor, who has been a priest-in-residence at Salem St. Paul Parish for the past five years and who personally looks after the health care needs of one of the diocese’s retired priests. The retired priests “have taught me a lot about how to be retired. Adjust, adjust, adjust – what I always tell them – comes back as good advice for me,” said Father McCarthy, 71. “If some days I’m not feeling up-to-snuff myself, getting in touch with one of our retirees can change my whole perspective,” he said.

And it’s more than that, added Father McCarthy, who has had an abiding interest in Church history. “I see the retired priests as a wisdom community for our Church.” The clergy who served the Church before the Second Vatican Council and afterwards have an understanding of Church history that those who did not live during this time period lack, he said. These older priests “can offer a framework and a perspective on what’s going on in our Church right now,” he suggested. “We live in such here-and-now times, and yet … retired priests represent a part of the Church that is beyond parish life.” If some of them were called upon to give homilies today, he suggested, “their words might reflect this perspective.” Even retired priests who can no longer be active in ministry have much to offer the Church, the priest added. Just like other retired Catholics, retired priests have more time to pray and more appreciation of that time, he said. “They join the whole Church in praying for the welfare of the Church.”

Father McCarthy said an important part of his job is helping the retired priests find opportunities to serve Christ in ways they are able. When a priest retires, Father McCarthy tries to do what he calls an “exit interview” with him, in person or by phone, so he can learn about the priest’s individual abilities, needs and desires for involvement. On one occasion, he learned that an organization was in need of a part-time chaplain, and he was able to direct two retired priests to this ministry.

“The [active] priests really appreciate the help that the retirees give [offering Mass, etc.], when they are away,” Father McCarthy said. “I’m happy to try to find retired priests to fill any posts in which they might be needed.” He invited all diocesan Catholics to let him know of places they might know of, where retired priests might fill a need. Such a “match” could serve both the community and the aging priest in his need to feel needed, he said. Father McCarthy can be reached at 330-332-0336.

Father John Jerek, new diocesan Vicar for Clergy and Religious Services, said he’d like diocesan Catholics to know that their retired priests “are all doing whatever they can to continue to serve the people.” He said he is “really inspired and very touched” by the dedication they all have to their priesthood, some living with very challenging physical limitations.

Retired priests “bring decades of wisdom and past experience to what they do,” he continued, “and wherever they go, they are very much respected and revered. Our culture typically portrays retired individuals as either living very leisurely lives or being very idle, but our retired priests do not fall into those stereotypes at all.”

The priests themselves “appreciate being needed,” Father Jerek stressed, “and I find them to be very optimistic about life.” He said it is possible that “not having the weight of administrative responsibility helps to brings out this side to them that is very good.”

He added that Father McCarthy is doing “a really wonderful job” as diocesan delegate to retired priests. “I think he really likes his job,” Father Jerek said, “and I know he is very, very present to the men.”

Fr. James McKarns: ‘See where you want to be, then try to get there’

When it came time to retire, Father James McKarns followed his own advice. He identified a new objective and began conducting parish missions across the country. “I’m working with people in a field in which I was trained, traveling, meeting new people and having new experiences. It’s fulfilling,” the pastor emeritus of North Canton St. Paul Parish said.

The first diocesan priest to write “The Word” column for the Catholic Catholic Exponent in the early 1980s, has been a contributor to “Living Faith” (a Catholic devotional publication) for 14 years, and wrote seven books on Scripture, homiletics and practical psychology. Father McKarns’ latest book, “Lean Against the Wind”, a self-help book in its fourth printing, served as his road map for retirement. “The idea is to look ahead, see where you want to be, see if it’s realistic, then try to get there,” he said.

Father McKarns’ training as a runner and 1967 participant in the Boston Marathon also helped him in planning for his older years. “Running was a great teacher because you have to project yourself 26 miles down the road,” he explained.

Having served as a parish priest in six diocesan parishes from ordination in 1962 until 2000, Father McKarns believes retirement is a necessary transition period. “I don’t see this stage as retirement but more as a redirection,” he noted. A change of pace affirms the journey through life and helps prepare for the ultimate changes we all must face, he continued. Nonetheless, after finalizing his plans with Bishop Thomas Tobin, Father McKarns said, “My whole life was geared to working in the parish and the ending of that phase hit me. It was a very sobering time.”

Long-time friends offered the priest an apartment at their bed-and-breakfast in Louisville where he enjoys the convenience, variety and interactions with visitors. Occasionally, Father McKarns has been known to serve breakfast to the B&B guests. “My specialty is scrambled eggs and toast,” he said.

During the past eight years, Father McKarns has traveled extensively, doing retreats for Isaiah Ministries as well as retreats he has developed. Father McKarns’ original topics for retreats and parish missions include “Nine Habits of Highly Successful Christians”, “The Power and The Glory of Sunday Mass” and “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Noting that he has always liked giving presentations, he said, “Retirement liberates you from being tied down to a strict schedule so you’re more pliable.”

In addition to his mission work, Father McKarns takes on many weekend assignments for local parishes, both Penance services and Mass. He said: “All the retired priests respect and appreciate the times when somebody covered for us and we try to return that favor.” When time permits, he also enjoys reading, listening to books on tape, following sports and speedwalking.

Fr. Michael Chonko: ‘I always say, “Lord, be right here with me. Help me through this day’”

For Father Michael J. Chonko, retirement means continuing his work as an instrument of God. At age 95, Father Chonko is the oldest priest in the Youngstown Diocese. Retired since June 1, 1977, Father Chonko said, “I’m exceptionally blessed with good health.” He currently lives in a cottage east of New Castle, Pa., which he bought in 1954.

Purchase of that property was part refuge and part planning for the future. “I was raised in the country and I wanted a retreat from the city. I also wanted to retire where I could enjoy God’s nature,” said Father Chonko. Noting that many people don’t plan for the future, Father Chonko attributes a satisfying retirement to sound advice and well-defined goals.

Independence is important to this gourmet cook, who still hunts deer and goes fishing. “I catch my own trout in the stream right behind my house,” he said. Remaining active is also vital. “I can’t see sitting around when there are things to be done,” Father Chonko said.

A physics/chemistry/math teacher for 27 years and a parish priest, Father Chonko originally planned a career in medicine. “I was educated by the Benedictines and I saw these men who were holy, pious and intellectual, so I left pre-med.” He was ordained a Benedictine monk in 1943. He volunteered to serve at St. John the Baptist Parish in Campbell in 1950 when a priest fluent in the Slovak language was needed. “The good Lord blessed me with many responsibilities and talents to do things for the people for His greater honor and glory and for the benefit and salvation of all souls,” said Father Chonko.

Father Chonko was incardinated as a priest of the Youngstown Diocese in 1958. His last assignment before retirement was as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Newton Falls. Saying he cannot believe it’s been 31 years since he left St. Joseph, he noted, “God still uses me in many ways.” On many weekends, Father Chonko drives to celebrate Mass at parishes in New Castle and Youngstown, assists troubled families, preaches at Forty Hours and fills in for other priests when needed. “A lot of people call me to visit their parents because I know the Slovak language. As long as God blesses me with good health, I’ll help.”

Father Chonko attributes his longevity to exercise and healthy foods. He was a member of his college diving and swimming teams, coached the golf and rifle teams during his 14 years at Ursuline High School, and is a certified lifeguard. Having taught chemistry, Father Chonko knows the consequences of poor eating habits. “I always told my students, ‘God gave you one little machine [your body] to take care of; don’t put garbage in it and you’ll have a long life.’”

The priest’s days begin with prayers, meditation, Mass and thanksgiving. “Whenever I do anything I always say ‘Lord be right here with me. Help me through this day.’” Father Chonko spends time with God through everyday tasks such as walking to the mailbox. “Retirement has given me much more time to meditate, to spiritualize my life,” said Father Chonko. “Every day I’m doing little things for penance for my past sins.”

As a child Father Chonko was trained to feed his spiritual side through good deeds, penance, kindness, love and forgiveness. “That’s still the way I live as a retired priest,” he said.

Msgr. James Kolp: ‘Use every day the way He would want you to’

Remaining active and branching out in new directions have been hallmarks of retirement for Msgr. James Kolp, pastor emeritus of Massillon St. Mary Parish. “My retirement has been a wonderful experience,” he said.

Ordained in 1950, Monsignor Kolp’s first pastoral assignment was at St. Columba Cathedral. After hearing confessions on Sept. 2, 1954, Father Kolp returned to the rectory only to see the church catch fire after being struck by lighting. “I’m the one who turned in the alarm,” Monsignor Kolp said. “Two of us ran over to take the Blessed Sacrament out of the tabernacle. You could hear the roof crackling. That was one experience I’ll never forget.”

Since retiring in 2000, Monsignor Kolp now lives in the Alliance St. Joseph rectory, where Father Donald Feicht is pastor. “My family has known his family for many, many years,” said Monsignor Kolp. Noting that he misses the parishioners at Massillon St. Mary’s, Monsignor Kolp said, “I’m thankful to be in a parish. In parish life, there are a lot of things going on, lots of laughs.”

Another bonus of his new residence has been the opportunity to keep the baby grand piano which belonged to his mother. An accomplished pianist, Monsignor Kolp began playing at age six. “Once in a while I play publicly just for fun,” he said. Retirement has allowed time to add to his vast repertoire. “I’ve recently learned selections by Grieg and Satie,” the priest said. He is also a member of the “Praisin Padres,” part of Affirmation Ministries in Canton, which performs several times a year.

Monsignor Kolp said his motto for life/retirement is to “start every day by thanking God for blessing you with another day and to use it the way He would want you to.”

He offers Mass at area nursing homes, assists at St. Joseph Parish as needed, and has filled in for priests in 34 parishes in Ohio, Kentucky and Florida. Monsignor Kolp also gives parish missions in the Youngstown and Cleveland dioceses as well as St. Petersburg, Fla. And he finds time for meditation during Perpetual Adoration at St. Joseph. “That’s a wonderful time to have some quiet restful time with the Lord,” he told the Exponent.

A man of many talents, Monsignor Kolp currently serves on the national board of the Catholic Committee on Scouting and the advisory board of the Boy Scouts of America Buckeye Council. He is Scouting chaplain for Michigan and Ohio, chaplain for Knights of Columbus Council 554 in Massillon, vice-chairman of the Stark County Park Board, and a member of a priest support group. He also participates in the March for Life in Washington, D.C., every January.

Some of his chosen responsibilities reflect life-long passions. Scouting goes back to his youth when he attained the rank of Eagle Scout. A member of the Stark Wilderness Center Birding Club, the retired priest also does a fair amount of hiking.

Other pursuits reflect Monsignor Kolp’s artistic bent. When the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) produced a series on G.K. Chesterton, Monsignor Kolp, a big fan of the late author, was asked to take part. “G.K. Chesterton wrote the Father Brown mysteries, so I played Father Brown for one of the segments in the series,” explained the priest.

He has also given television and radio interviews for a biography, “The Amazing Father Lindesmith,” a long-term project which Monsignor Kolp completed and had published during retirement. Inspiration for this book came when young Father Kolp was assigned to St. Philip Neri Parish in Dungannon. “I wrote the book to document Father Eli Lindesmith’s life and the early days of the church [in the diocese],” he explained. Father Lindesmith, an area native, was one of St. Philip’s first pastors, and a participant in the Indian Wars.

In addition to completing that project, the rewards of retirement include opportunities “to do things you couldn’t when you were tied down as a parish priest,” Monsignor Kolp added. He attends many cultural programs at Mount Union College and travels. He has visited Rome, Fatima, Athens, Ephesus, Patmos, Istanbul, Hawaii and Malta in the past eight years.

 

Friday, July 25, 2008
Four priests appointed deans; three other priests reappointed

Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., has appointed four priests to the position of Dean in the Diocese of Youngstown. The appointments are for a three-year term, beginning Aug. 15. They join three priests already serving in that capacity.There are seven deaneries in the six-county diocese, with a Dean is appointed for each deanery. The Deans serve in addition to their current pastoral assignments.

Father Raymond Thomas is Dean of Ashtabula County. He was ordained May 27, 1972, and serves as pastor of St. Mary/St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Conneaut.

Father Nicholas Shori is Dean of Mahoning County-South. Ordained June 8, 1974, he is pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in New Middletown.

Msgr. James A. Clarke is Dean of Stark County. He was ordained May 23, 1970, and is pastor of St. Paul Parish in North Canton.

Father Donald King is Dean of Trumbull County. Ordained June 27, 1974, he is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Warren.

Reappointed are Father Thomas Eisweirth, Dean of Columbiana County and pastor of St. Paul Parish in Salem; Father Stephen Popovich, Dean of Mahoning County-North and pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Austintown; and Father Richard Pentello, Dean of Portage County and pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Kent.

The duties and faculties of a Dean are outlined in Canon Law and include the following: A Dean’s relationship with the bishop is to strengthen the work of the apostolate in his deanery, meeting with the bishop at least quarterly in order to apprise him of conditions and needs in his deanery. He promotes and coordinates common pastoral activity within the deanery, ensuring that religious functions are celebrated properly; visiting parishes and ensuring that churches, sacred furnishings and parish books are carefully maintained. A Dean promotes a spirit of fraternity and cooperation among the clergy, visits sick priests, assists retired priests, and keeps the bishop informed of clergy matters in his deanery.

 

Friday, July 11, 2008
E. Liverpool St. Ann soup kitchen marks 20th anniversary

By Marly Kosinki
Special to the Exponent

EAST LIVERPOOL – More than 20 years ago, Ralph and Grace Bosco went to their pastor at the time, Father Robert Gibas, with an idea to start a soup kitchen at St. Ann Parish here.

Now, the soup kitchen serves more than 100 people every Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m. Since it started in February 1988, the program has served 75,641 meals, and the volunteers say they plan to keep cooking and serving as long as they are able.

The program has about eight volunteers, with half of them starting their day at 9:30 a.m. to set tables, prepare tossed salads, cook a main course and make desserts. The rest of the crew comes in the afternoon to help serve and clean up.

The volunteers come from St. Ann’s as well as neighboring St. Aloysius and Sacred Heart Parish across the border in Chester, W. Va.

“We’ll take anyone that wants to help,” Ralph Bosco said during a recent interview with the Catholic Exponent.

Bosco has been a member of St. Ann Parish for 76 years. He is considered the soup kitchen’s lead volunteer. He buys the groceries for the program and shared his secret for being able to keep the cost of each meal at approximately 98 cents per person.

“I shop around for the sales and build a meal around the specials. If chicken is on sale, I use that as a main course. If it’s ground beef, I will make hamburgers or meatloaf,” Bosco said, noting that all meals are accompanied by salad, dessert, punch and coffee.

He said the first meal he prepared for the program was chili and about 35 people showed up. There was no advertising done, except a simple white sign outside the church hall doors that still stands today.

“People came through word of mouth that first day. I guess word got around because we started getting more people each week,” Bosco said.

He said the program was averaging 70 to 80 people for several years, but the number has grown to more than 100 in the past few years. He said he spends about $125 each week, which includes buying food for the church’s food pantry.

Both programs are supported through monetary donations from parishioners and the community. Bosco said he used to take canned good donations from the public, but he found most of the items were not being used, so he started only accepting cash to purchase groceries for the meals and the most needed items for the pantry.

“I have never run short on funds in the 20 years I have been doing this. People are very generous. We are blessed in that way,” Bosco said.

He said the clients served by the soup kitchen are usually the same every week, but occasionally there will be some new faces. Many of them travel from one soup kitchen to another since there is a program nearly every night of the week in the area.

“Tuesday was the only night not taken by another organization and that’s how we ended up doing ours on Tuesday,” Bosco said, explaining how any leftover food is given to the Resource Center, which serves meals on Wednesday.

He said three or four of the families served are from the parish, while the rest are from the community. The volunteers also deliver meals to neighborhood shut-ins who can’t make it to the parish hall.

Bosco said he is dedicated to the program and he prepares, cooks and serves – meaning that he spends about eight hours every week on the soup kitchen program.

“People think I should quit and relax because I am 76, but I want to do it as long as I am able,” he said, adding that the soup kitchen has become one of the most important things in his life. His wife, Grace, who helped start the program, is no longer able to help, but Bosco said she is there with them in spirit.

Dorothy McKnight, who has been a member of St. Ann Parish for 53 years, has volunteered for the program for the past four years.

“It took me a long time to get the courage to volunteer, but Ralph kept saying they needed help, so I decided to just do it. I help prepare and serve the food. I like to cook anyway and this way I can help someone who needs it more than I do,” McKnight said.

Kay McIntosh has been a member of St. Aloysius Parish for 24 years. She was recruited for St. Ann’s program by another volunteer, Fanchon Chronister, a longtime St. Aloysius member who has volunteered at St Ann’s for many years. “I don’t come every week, but I have been doing it for quite a while,” McIntosh said. “I come when the Spirit moves me and it’s therapy for me to work with the other volunteers.”

Sandy Hawthorne has been a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Chester, W. Va., for seven years. She is a member of the parish’s Divine Mercy organization and said they were looking for service projects to do and found out about the soup kitchen at St. Ann’s.

She said she comes every week, as long as she is not out of town, and said she enjoys helping others in need. However, it’s the volunteers who keep her coming back to this particular program.

Father George Balasko will celebrate his 20th anniversary at St. Ann Parish as pastor in September. He said he inherited the soup kitchen program from Father Gibas and enthusiastically supported it. “It’s one of our jewels here. It fulfills the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus said ‘When I was hungry, you gave me food and when I was thirsty, you gave me drink,’” Father Balasko said. The volunteers have his total support, he added.

Father Balasko also noted that, when parishioners die, many of their family members ask that donations be made to the soup kitchen and food pantry in lieu of flowers. “So even in death, our parishioners support this program,” he said.

Mary Ann Ferlaino, who has been the secretary at St. Ann Parish since 1976, keeps the books for the soup kitchen and pantry. She said the church and community are lucky to have people like Bosco dedicated to the program.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the program, the parish held a social and concert at the parish gazebo June 29. Father Balasko said it was a way to thank the community for its support and to show the volunteers how much their work is appreciated.

Marly Kosinski, a journalist working in Warren, freelances for the Catholic Exponent

 

Friday, July 11, 2008
Youngstown Mt. Carmel Parish celebrates 100 years

By Mary Ellen Pellegrini
Special to the Exponent

Ethnic roots, a welcoming spirit and adherence to age-old Catholic rituals have defined Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Youngstown, since its inception. Now celebrating its 100th anniversary, Mount Carmel remains a place of prayer and reverence, where quiet and respect are important.

Describing the parish of 1,100 families, its pastor, Msgr. Michael Cariglio, said, “There is a real commitment to passing on the Catholic faith in a parish that emphasizes community and family.” He noted that four-generation families are common in the parish.

Dolores Good, director of religious education/pastoral ministry and a third generation member of Mount Carmel, now has children and grandchildren in the parish. Mount Carmel organizations such as the Legion of Mary, Mothers of the Crucifix Society, Vestibule Club, Senior Citizens Club, St. Monica Guild, St. Vincent de Paul Society, St. Joseph Study Group and an active CCD program draw many to the parish, she said.

“By virtue of my ministry, I work with many people, a lot of wonderful volunteers,” she said.

Their dedication and parish leadership create a vibrant atmosphere, added Dolores Good. “We’ve been blessed with five wonderful pastors. Each has built on the successes of the one prior to him,” she noted.

Her son, Walter Good, current president of parish council and co-chair of the centennial celebration, said Mount Carmel is a great blend of the traditional and the new. “There’s a generational component that holds Mount Carmel close to their hearts. At the same time we’re fortunate to continually attract new members,” he explained. Along with receiving the Sacraments and serving Mass, Walter Good’s childhood memories of Mount Carmel include helping his grandfather maintain the parish grounds with tasks such as gardening. “I remember spreading a lot of mulch,” he said with a laugh.

Fellow co-chair Pat Palombo also grew up when Mount Carmel was a neighborhood parish. “My friends were the kids that hung around the church all the time. We still keep in touch,” he said. Palombo remains a parishioner because of the spirituality that is central to all parish events. “There’s something special about being in this church and looking up at the altar,” he noted. In addition to playing/coaching for the Mount Carmel Angels, Palombo’s formative years included the Mount Carmel feast day celebrations, with their Italian music and crafts, St. Anthony novenas and the outdoor Corpus Christi procession. “I remember putting money on the statue of Our Lady [on the feast day] as a kid,” said Palumbo.

Virginia Valenzisi, 99, was a member of Mount Carmel when Masses were offered in the first church – a 79-foot long basement rising several feet from the ground and roofed for church use. Affectionately called “Mama Mia” for her baking skills, Valenzisi made pizza, bread and pizza fritta for bingo and helped her husband, Frank, make sausage for countless parish festivals. “The church was the center of our life,” she said. Valenzisi, one of the founders of the Mothers of the Crucifix Society, said “Mount Carmel was important to us because of the ethnicity.”

The ethnic traditions attracted Chelsey Santucci to the parish four years ago. After visiting other parishes, Santucci said, “I always came back to Mount Carmel especially for the 10 o’clock Mass [on Sundays], which is the High Mass.” The church’s ornate statues, detailed murals, and beautiful stained glass windows also have special meaning for Santucci. “Everything goes back to your roots, and I want to hold on to some traditions,” he noted.

Although Mount Carmel has reached the century milestone, Santucci noted that it retains a youthful spirit. “One very beautiful aspect of this parish is it refuses to get old,” said Deacon Joseph Nohra, who has ministered at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish since 1986. He points to the number of young couples from various ethnic backgrounds who marry at the parish and raise their children there.

Lifelong member, Lou Fusillo, echoed comments about the parish’s family orientation. “There’s a lot of activity here,” he said. “You feel like part of a family. We make everyone feel at home,” he continued. Because the neighborhood aspect is gone, Fusillo believes one parish strength is its members’ commitment to stay actively involved despite the travel required to do so. “There’s a lot of pride with our church and our grounds,” he said. Fusillo witnessed the parish social center transform from a plain block building to an updated hall.

While preserving Mount Carmel’s long-time traditions, Monsignor Cariglio said, “We try to have an extra sensitivity to reaching out to our young people.” Eighteen-year-old Craig Ziobert calls Mount Carmel his second home. Along with youth ministry, the golf league and other social activities, the Ursuline graduate values the parish’s traditional elements, such as the burial procession in church on Good Friday and the First Communicants processing with the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday. “I love the reverence of the people here and the sacredness in church,” Ziobert said.

Norman Weimer joined Mount Carmel 12 years ago. “Attending Mass at Mount Carmel [today] is like walking into church when I was a young kid,” said Weimer. He noted parishioners’ active devotion to their faith. “People leave their workplaces to attend the Tuesday novena to St. Anthony. They bring lawn chairs for the outdoor Mass on his feast day,” he said. Weimer also pointed to Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, instituted in 1993, as another example of parishioners’ faith. “People really appreciate this church and its original look,” he added.

Parish secretary Marie Ronyak was baptized at Mount Carmel, attended another parish as a child and returned to her roots 16 years ago. “I came back because I liked the traditions and the friendliness of the people. It’s a relaxed atmosphere,” Ronyak said.

Central to the parish is its devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. “It’s difficult to find a seat on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel,” said Palombo. As a youth, Deacon Nohra attended Mass on Fridays with his father at the church. A deacon in both the Latin and Maronite rites, he said, “The greatest strength of this parish is the deep faith and commitment of its people.”

That commitment includes an outreach to those in need. Walter Good recalls his grandfather collecting food for the needy. “Our basement was often full of canned goods and that same spirit exists today,” he said. “Our parishioners have a strong desire to be in tune with the Holy Father and the local bishop in terms of faith doctrine and social issues,” said Monsignor Cariglio. One parish project, selling Mount Carmel spaghetti sauce, benefits Catholic Charities Emergency Assistance. “There’s a commitment to share treasure for the broader church,” noted Palombo.

As the parish commemorates its 100th anniversary, Monsignor Cariglio said “it’s with gratitude to celebrate a parish community that is very much alive and well.” The positive challenge for every parishioner is to continue proclaiming and living the Gospel, Monsignor Cariglio added. Another challenge is “to continue weaving the fabric of what made the parish important to us so the next generation will bring their kids,” said Walter Good.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish was founded in 1908 by Italian-American pioneers. Father Emmanuel Stabile, ordained in Naples, Italy, initiated construction of the original basement church. On May 11, 1911, Msgr. Vito Franco became pastor. Two years later, the basement roof was opened and construction of a parish church began. On Nov. 4, 1916, a beautiful church with candelabra, brass chandeliers, artistic windows and a Holkamp Pipe Organ, donated in part by millionaire Andrew Carnegie, was dedicated. Tragically, a fire on June 12, 1923, destroyed or damaged these treasures. Six months later the restored church was dedicated. Monsignor Franco led the parish for 50 years until his death in 1961.

Father Henry Fabrizio succeeded Monsignor Franco. Under Father Fabrizio’s tenure parcels of surrounding property, vacated as long-time neighbors passed away or moved to the suburbs, were purchased. A new rectory, large social hall with classrooms for religious/cultural education and the St. Anthony Garden memorializing deceased parishioners were added to Mount Carmel’s grounds. Twelve years after his installation as pastor, illness forced Father Fabrizio from active ministry.

On July 3, 1973, Father Joseph Iati accepted the pastorate. Father Iati’s leadership brought restoration of the altars, frescoes and the installation of a new pipe organ. On May 28, 1979, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church was recognized as a Historical Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. After Father Iati’s death in 1986, Monsignor Cariglio became the fifth pastor in the church’s history.

Monsignor Cariglio’s leadership has seen continued restoration of the church, extension of the St. Anthony Garden, purchase and restoration of a building for religious education, now named The John Paul II Center, a memorial walk, outdoor Stations of the Cross and construction of a tower attached to the church with an elevator and handicapped-accessible restrooms.

Women religious who have served the parish are Ursuline Sister Rita DeChello as pastoral minister from 1986 until 1995 and the Oblate Sisters, who have assisted with religious education since the 1960s and continue at the parish today.

In addition to Monsignor Cariglio and Deacon Nohra, parish staff includes Marie Ronyak, Barbara McOwen and Therese Wells, parish secretaries; Mark Izzo, director of music; Dolores Good, director of religious education/pastoral ministry; Lou Fusillo, parish caterer, Norman Weimer, maintenance supervisor and Walter Good, parish council chair.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s 100th anniversary celebration began on June 27 with the unveiling of a bronze statue, “The Italian Immigrant … A Symbol of the Spirit.” (See story, Page 14.) Centennial observances continue with a 6 p.m. Mass and dinner reception July 16, by invitation only. Principal celebrant and homilist will be Bishop George V. Murry, S.J. Further events, including a parade, are planned for the Mount Carmel Festival, July 24-27.

 

Friday, July 11, 2008
OLMC dedicates bronze ‘Italian Immigrant’ statue

FAQ content 27

Bishop Murry chose the occasion to reflect on today’s immigration debate

By Lou Jacquet

Youngstown Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish dedicated a large bronze statue of “The Italian Immigrant: A Symbol of the Spirit” during a colorful outdoor event in front of the church June 27 before some 300 invited guests.

The statue, crafted by artist Tom Antonishak, was a gift from Tony and Mary Lariccia. According to the printed invitation, the statue was meant to “recognize the contributions of Italian Americans of the Mahoning Valley.”

Bishop George Murry, S.J., who gave the principal address, chose the occasion to remind those present of the achievements of some 4 million Italian immigrants through the decades, and the need to welcome the current stream of Hispanic immigrants to American shores.

The late afternoon event had begun under sunny but hot skies with remarks from Scott Schulick, master of ceremonies, a fifth-generation member of the parish. “Tonight we celebrate our heritage,” he told those present, “that of our parish and that of our Italian ancestry. Generations have built Our Lady of Mount Carmel from a basement church to the magnificent landmark that has graced Via Mount Carmel since 1923.”

The program included the singing of the Italian and American national anthems by Daniel Byerly, as rain clouds threatened. Bishop Murry led the invocation and Matteo Saborse, a teacher of Italian at Hubbard High School, gave an address entitled “Passage to Liberty” about the Italian immigrant experience in coming to America.

Bishop Murry told those present that the new statue was “both a sign and a symbol.” He said it “reminds us that beginning over a hundred years ago, Italian newcomers journeyed to the shores of the United States, bringing with them a rich culture of history, music, literature, faith, food and wine.” It is also a symbol, he explained, in that “it leads us to look beyond, to see more than simply what is here before us.”

Recalling that some 33 million immigrants came to America between 1830 and 1920, about half of whom were Catholics, the bishop said the statue “directs our vision to the new immigrants today, who are mostly Mexicans who come to this country seeking the same as the Italians of old: opportunity, education, employment, in short, a better life.”

“Unfortunately,” he told the audience, “the contemporary immigration debate is very similar to the debate which occurred when many of your ancestors first set foot on these shores.” The contemporary debate includes openness and hostility, racial justice and racial injustice, theological hope and psychological despair, cultural appreciation and cultural disdain, and more, he said.

“This is nothing new. The history of immigration to the United States is fraught with contradictory attitudes. Most often, concerns about newcomers are centered in two anxieties, captured in the sentences ‘we cannot assimilate these new people’ and ‘this will no longer be America.’”

Those comments, he pointed out, “were made as Italian immigrants came to this country over 100 years ago. But we have every reason to believe they are not true.” Bishop Murry said those gathered this day “are a testament to the falsehood of those statements.”

The bishop then discussed the manner in which the Italian national parish became the center of life for Italian immigrants, the place where they learned American ways and the English language itself. Having been relegated to worshiping in the basement of territorial parishes by pastors of other nationalities when they first arrived, the Italian immigrants had clamored for Masses celebrated in their own language in their own parishes.

“Once established,” the bishop said, “the Italian parish became a functional parish in two crucial ways”: a as the focal point “for the celebration and transmission of the faith from one generation to another,” and as the social center for the community, “and as such the gateway through which Italian newcomers could learn lessons necessary to assimilation with American culture.”

The experience of the Italian immigrants, who successfully became American citizens and members of national parishes in this country, can teach present-day Americans lessons about immigration as well, Bishop Murry said.

“Contrary to what some alarmists have claimed, history shows that this country does have the ability to assimilate newcomers. Our parishes and schools have been successful at that task in the past. There is no reason to think that they cannot do the same today. What that requires, however, is an openness, unlike what many of your ancestors experienced, an openness on the part of our Church to be a welcoming Church.”

Bishop Murry said the strength to handle immigration in that manner “is found in and through our faith.” Later, pointing out the rosary in the hands of the immigrant in the statue, he said, “It was through God that your ancestors came to this country. It was through God that you have grown and made so many contributions to this country. And it is through God that we will find the courage and the strength to welcome all who seek freedom, so that they may find peace and justice among us.”

Following remarks from Msgr. Michael Cariglio as the skies opened in a genuine summer downpour as any guests who were not seated scurried to get under the edges of the tent, the gathering concluded with remarks from Tony Lariccia and the singing of “Immacolata,” led by Mark and Susan Izzo. Those present then moved under a cover of umbrellas to enjoy a catered dinner in the parish hall.

 

Friday, July 11, 2008
WILB AM 1060 breaks ground for new transmitter, tower

By Lou Jacquet

CANTON – WILB AM 1060, the Catholic daytime talk radio station in the diocese that has touched many lives in its brief existence, is set to touch up to a million more. A June 26 groundbreaking ceremony for a new transmitter building and small tower will significantly boost its signal in the months to come.

WILB officials say the new transmitter and tower “will use state of the art electronics to give the AM 1060 signal a clear, crisp sound.” The current signal gives WILB – known as Living Bread Radio – the ability to reach into Stark, Summit, Wayne, Portage, Medina, Tuscarawas, Ashland, Holmes, Galion and Carroll counties. “The improvements will allow AM 1060 to better serve the residents of Summit and Cuyahoga counties as well as the surrounding areas,” officials said. They expect more than one million additional listeners to be able to receive the improved signal.

The groundbreaking took place shortly after noon on a hot day with Father Nicholas Mancini, WILB spiritual adviser and board member, leading the service as station employees and board members stood by with shovels. Following an “Our Father” with the staffers present, Father Mancini, pastor of Youngstown SS. Cyril and Methodius and St. Stephen of Hungary parishes, said: “We ask your blessing upon your Church and upon this network. Protect us now and evermore. May peace be given to all lands, and may this network be a beam and a light of hope, that all may hear the word of your Good News. Oh Father, may our work for you rebuild your church and make it anew….and may Almighty God bless this site in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Following the service, Father Mancini told the Exponent the groundbreaking “means a good beginning of broadcasting for people who need to hear the word of God. As we expand this network, may it reach out and touch the hearts and minds and souls of all who seek Jesus Christ. May it be a means and a way for them to come back to God and to come home to the Church, especially to the sacrifice of the Mass and the sacrament of Reconciliation and God’s mercy and grace.”

Barbara Gaskell, WILB general manager and the driving force behind its establishment, said she was “so excited at what we have done today because it is a major step in more evangelization. We are going to take our signal and be able to put it more toward Youngstown and also more toward the Cleveland area. I think we will be able to reach another million souls, and we already reach a little more than 1 million, since we reach almost down to Columbus. This has been a long time coming, but God is good. He must want this to happen because I get up every day and say, ‘You have to do it, Lord, because it’s way bigger than what we can do by ourselves.’”

While she is pleased that “God just keeps sending us the people and the money to make it happen,” Gaskell said she is especially joyful when she hears stories about how Living Bread Radio has changed lives. “Just last week someone told us they were going to join RCIA [the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults] because they had started listening to our station. Isn’t that awesome? That’s what it’s all about. One diocesan seminarian told us he found his vocation listening to Catholic radio. We know what we do here changes lives.”

Gaskell said she has been told WILB programming fosters vocations, helps marriages, brings people back to the Catholic faith who have been away for years. “It has just been an incredible four years,” she told the Exponent. “It makes me want to cry, to think what power there is in radio. It’s exciting to think what we can do now with this new tower, God’s tower. God has been so good to us. But of course the Blessed Mother takes care of us, too.”

Gaskell praised the efforts of Bill Glasser, former director of engineering for WHBC and a longtime WILB volunteer. “Bill has done everything for us,” she said. “He takes care of everything electrical for us. He is a wonderful man. If there is anything to know about radio, he knows it. God sent him to us, literally, and he has helped from the get-go. I don’t know what we would do without him.” Glasser used to work at the station that was housed in the dilapidated, soon-to-be razed building near the site of the new tower.

Glasser, also on hand for the groundbreaking, said he expects the new construction to be completed by the end of 2008 or the spring of 2009. Part of that will involve knocking down the old radio station building on the transmitter site, which is located at 4601Hills and Dales, and finishing the new construction. “When that happens, we’ll be able to boost our power up,” he said. “So I think this is a great day. I think that the Catholic radio movement got kind of a late start, but we’re here now. It’s growing every day. I hope that those of us in the Diocese of Youngstown and the Diocese of Cleveland will have good [radio] coverage.” Glasser said he is “very hopeful that all of the faithful will appreciate what we have done and can perhaps even help us out.”

According to Glasser, the operating budget of WILB is a separate item, but the capital costs alone, including the land for the station’s offices on Fulton Road and the separate tower/transmitter site, is “upward of a million dollars. Just this little project we are doing here (waving toward the construction) will cost more than $300,000. It’s not cheap.” Glasser said the station relies on “sponsorships” as a non-profit corporation. “Most of our funding comes directly from donations,” he explained. “We don’t get any support from the two dioceses. It’s strictly a lay apostolate supported by the faithful.”

After watching the groundbreaking service, Barb Gaskell said working at WILB has “changed my life and helped me understand my faith.” She said she listens to the station every day and credits EWTN and the Ave Network for providing programming that WILB can use. Producing all of their own original programming would be far too cost prohibitive, she said. “You have to have way deep pockets for that.”

“There is so much potential here with radio,” Gaskell mused. “The Protestants have seen that for years. We [Catholics] are just now kind of catching on.”

WILB AM 1060 is located in the St. Raphael Center, 4365 Fulton Drive. Its signal, as dictated by the Federal Communications Commission, rises and sets with the sun. For more information on the station, call 330-966-2903.

 

Friday, June 27, 2008
Diocese honors 181 married couples during Mass at St. Columba

Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., celebrated an afternoon Mass at St. Columba Cathedral June 22 to mark the wedding anniversaries of 181 couples who were honored for a total of 8,225 years of wedded life, ranging from 25 to 69 years.

Anthony and Mary Centofanti, parishioners of St. Paul Parish, Salem were the longest married couple, celebrating 69 years of marriage.

Other couples celebrating included 53 couples married 51-65 years; 49 couples married 50 years; 44 couples observing 40 years; and 34 couples marking 25 years.

The Wedding Anniversary Celebration included renewal of marriage vows at Mass, and a personalized certificate.

COLUMBIANA COUNTY

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, East Palestine: Robert and Ruth Bolan, 50 years. St. Aloysius Parish,East Liverpool: Garey and Eleanor Bosworth, 50 years; Richard and Mary Ann Smith, 40 years; James and Reneé Wise, 25 years. St. Jude Parish,Columbiana: Dr. Louis and Anita Cosentino, 58 years; Kenneth and Susan Crowl, 25 years. St. Patrick Parish,Leetonia: Robert and Mary Eskay, 40 years. St. Paul Parish,Salem: Anthony and Mary Centofanti, 69 years; Leo and Violet Taugher, 64 years; Daniel and Louise Marchbanks, 61 years; James, Jr. and Jean Rhodes, 57 years.

MAHONING COUNTY

Holy Family Parish,Poland: Russell and Gertrude Baldwin, 63 years; Arthur, Sr. and Eileen Kelty, 60 years; William and Lee Sheridan, 55 years; James and Kathleen Kelly, 53 years; Joseph and Mary Bak, 50 years; Leonard and Janet Polas, 50 years; Joseph and Anna Pompeo, 50 years; Thomas and Kathleen Presby, 40 years; Joseph and Jane Sainato, 40 years; Michael and Sharon Kurjan, 25 years; William and Joann LaGuardia, 25 years; Stephen and Kathleen Platz, 25 years; Homer and Cynthia Skinner, 25 years. Holy Trinity Parish,Struthers: Michael, Jr. and Catherine Buchenic, 50 years; Richard and Elaine Kollar, 40 years; Andrew and Carol Jean Hirt, 25 years. Immaculate Conception Parish, Youngstown: Henry and Ellen Testa, 64 years. Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish,Youngstown (Austintown): Dino and Agnes Parisi, 65 years; Joseph and Margaret Bindas, 57 years; Donald and Joanne Blockinger, 50 years; Robert and Beverly Stash, 50 years; Richard and Cheryl Klempay, 25 years; Kevin and Colleen Miller, 25 years; Our Lady of Hungary Parish,Youngstown: William and Christina Bisker, 25 years. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish,Youngstown: Donald and Jacqueline Cheffo, 52 years; James and José Mondora, 40 years; Fred and Catherine Scarsella, 40 years; Albert and Patricia Schuley, 40 years; Joseph and Kathleen LaRocca, 25 years. Our Lady of The Holy Rosary, Lowellville: Albert and Antoinette Kinkela, 60 years; David and Linda Romano, 40 years; Robert and Margaret Zampini, 25 years. SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish, Youngstown: John and Lillian Fabry, 52 years; John and JoAnn Ziemianski, 50 years. SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Youngstown: Richard and Phyllis Koker, 50 years; Leonard and Sandra Koker, 40 years; Joseph and LouAnn Horvat, 25 years. St. Anthony Parish, Youngstown: Anthony and Dorothy Valley, 60 years. St. Brendan Parish, Youngstown: George and Mary Alyce Kinnick, 50 years. St. Charles Parish, Youngstown (Boardman): Jack and Mary Frances O’Neill, 60 years; Anthony and Jean Castranova, 58 years; Bernard and Nella Conway, 58 years; Anthony and Ann Orsinelli, 55 years; Ronald and Carmel Baughman, 50 years; John and Loretta Magrini, 50 years; Frank and Shirley Masluk, 50 years; John and Therese Boris, 25 years; Ronald and Joyce Granato, 25 years; Stephen and Deborah Liptak, 25 years;

St. Christine Parish, Youngstown: Carl and Madelyn Pedaline, 64 years; James and Pauline Vitullo, 50 years; Jerome and Margaret Kovach, 40 years; Joseph and Sandy Stasiak, 40 years; David and Lois Cavucci, 25 years. St. Columba Cathedral, Youngstown: Patrick and Mary Ann Rossetti, 50 years. St. Dominic Parish, Youngstown: Albert and Dorothy Cerritelli, 61 years; Edward and Dorothy Gorski, 60 years; Tony and Antoinette Martino, 60 years; Anthony and Antoinette Perry, 60 years; Joseph and Agnes Diorio, 58 years; Steve and Martha Garasky, 58 years; Donald and Claranne McCloud, 54 years; John and Phyllis Spagnola, 53 years; Francis and Mary Rose Kimes, 50 years; John and JoAnn Murphy, 50 years; Raymond and Mary Borosko, 50 years; William and Loretta Neill, 40 years. St. Edward Parish, Youngstown: Atty. John, III and Jeanne McNally, 40 years;

St. John the Baptist Parish, Campbell: Nick and Agnes Krut, 62 years; Bernard and Helen Jakobowski, 58 years; John and Eleanor Tesner, 55 years; Edward and Rita Billec, 50 years; Robert and Sandra Billec, 40 years; George and Mary Voytilla, 40 years. St. Joseph Parish, Youngstown (Austintown): Lawrence and Alice Carelli, 50 years; Arthur and Bernice DePaola, 50 years; Anthony and Dorothy DiGiacomo, 50 years; James and Marilyn Leslie, 50 years; Raymond and Diane Kuharich, 40 years; Augustine and Jacqueline Ruggiero, 40 years; James and Mary Ann Itts, 25 years. St. Joseph the Provider Parish, Campbell: Robert and Bernadette Flowers, 50 years; Richard and Theresa Szenborn, 40 years. St. Lucy Parish, Campbell: Matthew and Marietta Carlozzi, 50 years; John and Rose Marie Makosky, 50 years; Albert and Carmel Gerlick, 40 years. St. Luke Parish, Youngstown (Boardman): Michael and Elaine Billett, 50 years; Larry and Marcella Fauver, 50 years; James and Loretta Mislay, 50 years;

St. Matthias Parish, Youngstown: Del and Helen Sinchak, 51 years; John and Rosalie Buday, 50 years; Thomas and Georgieanna Martinko, 50 years. St. Michael Parish, Canfield: Thomas and Trudy DeFino, 50 years; Raymond and Eileen Novotny, 40 years; Joseph and Donna Sedzmak, 40 years; Robert, Sr. and Michaleen Smallwood, 40 years. St. Nicholas Parish, Struthers: John and Julie Mrofchak, 60 years; William and Evelyn Zaluski, 60 years; John and Mary Frances Lancy, 59 years; Rudy and Barbara Noday, 50 years; Thomas and Carrie Ramos, 50 years; Gerald and Dolly Ferencak, 40 years; Joseph and Patricia Vagnarelli, 40 years. St. Paul the Apostle Parish, New Middletown: James and Linda Dolak, 40 years; John and Alice Schneider, 40 years. St. Stanislaus Parish, Youngstown: William and Patricia Jones, 40 years. St. Stephen of Hungary Parish, Youngstown: Alex and Isabelle Timko, 62 years.

PORTAGE COUNTY

Immaculate Conception Parish, Ravenna: Robert and Christine Wright, 25 years. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Aurora: James and Kathleen Lapeus, 25 years. St. Joseph Parish, Mantua: Jim and Cathy Schultis, 25 years. St. Patrick Parish, Kent: Myrl and Patricia Rose, 56 years. St. Peter of the Fields Parish, Rootstown: Lawrence and Janet Bresky, 40 years; Jerry and Vivian Forgus, 40 years. University Parish Newman Center, Kent: Daniel and Janet Wavrek, 40 years.

STARK COUNTY

Regina Coeli Parish, Alliance: Dr. Ruben and Pacita Nepomuceno, 50 years. SS. Philip and James Parish, Canal Fulton: Greg and Patricia Dolezal, 25 years. St. Mary Parish, Massillon: James and Eleanor Scott, 50 years. St. Michael Parish, Canton: James and Judith Martell, 56 years; David and Cindy Gansmiller, 25 years. St. Paul Parish, North Canton: Thomas and Lois Jo Beck, 50 years; Timothy and Beverly Mohler, 40 years; Vincent and Barbara Osgood, 40 years; John and Vicki Bauer, 25 years.

TRUMBULL COUNTY

Blessed Sacrament Parish, Warren: Mathew and Shirley Repasky, 60 years; Keith and Mary Anderson, 50 years; Lawrence and Patricia Mirto, 50 years; Charles, Jr. and Julia Craig, 40 years; Arthur and Kathleen Lattanzi, 40 years; James and Christina Campbell, 25 years; Edward and Janet Hazboun, 25 years; Steven and Gena Marcinko, 25 years; Steven and Susan DeLeo Novak, 25 years. Christ Our King Parish, Warren: William and June Harris, 50 years; Ronald and Theresa Rhine, 25 years. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Niles: Samuel and Mary Helen Giangardella, 50 years. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, McDonald: David and Kathleen Smith, 40 years;

Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish, Vienna: Leonard and Regina Batcha, 50 years. SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish, Warren: Daniel and Bernadette Machuzak, 54 years; Ted and Marlene Steinbeck, 50 years. St. Bernadette Parish, Masury: Alfred and Delphine Zarella ,61 years; Emil and Marsha Ruha, 40 years. St. James Parish, Warren: Carl and Martha Delahunty, 59 years; Thomas and Barbara Urban, 40 years; Donald and Linda Wasilewski, 40 years.St. Joseph Parish, Warren: Andrew and Donna Petrick, 50 years. St. Mary and St. Joseph Parish, Newton Falls: David and Diane Passmore, 25 years. St. Mary Parish, Mineral Ridge: Joseph and Mary Anne Carkido, 40 years. St. Patrick Parish, Hubbard: Chester and Anne DeSantis, 63 years; Eugene and Mary Camuso, 62 years; Daniel and Ann Williams, 57 years; C. Edward and Evelyn Rhodes, 55 years; Anthony and Carmel Villano, 50 years; Richard and Irene Bresky, 40 years; Stephen and Peggy Powlysyn, 40 years;

St. Pius X Parish, Warren: George and Mary Sparacino ,60 years; Toney and Frances Sparacino, 60 years; James and Wanda Yannerella, 60 years; Fiore and Marie Dippolito, 50 years; Robert, Sr. and Edith Rice, 50 years. St. Robert Parish, Cortland: Joseph and Shirley Repko, 53 years; John and Diane Martin, 51 years; Nicholas and Gloria Veri, 40 years. St. Rose Parish, Girard: John and Phyllis Andello, 64 years; Rocco, Jr. and Virginia Moderalli, 60 years; Leo and Frances Delgarbino, 50 years; Andrew and Lenore Mooney, 25 years; James and Margaret Nestor, 25 years; Timothy and Tammie Newsome, 25 years. St. Stephen Parish, Niles: William and Nancy Snider, 40 years. St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Vienna: Lawrence and Mary Gertrude Butler, 50 years.

ALSO ATTENDING

St. Adalbert Parish, Farrell, Pa. (formerly of St. Ann, Youngstown): Ted and Helen Nogay, 55 years. St. Ferdinand Parish, Cranberry Pa. (Formerly of St. Rose, Girard): Dan and Nancy Christo, 25 years.

 

Friday, June 27, 2008
St. Nick’s principal winds up 50-year career in education

By Debora Shaulis Flora
Special to the Exponent

STRUTHERS – The principal’s office at St. Nicholas School will never look the same after Paulette M. Petrosky’s tenure.

Odds are slim that any future occupants will have a 50-year career in education and thus the memorabilia to decorate this small, skinny, dark room from floor to ceiling with pictures, photographs, posters, statues, religious symbols and handmade trinkets.

Deciding to retire – or “rechannel,” as Petrosky calls it – was easier than dismantling her office, because each item has meaning and history for her.

Petrosky, 69, has a collection of more than 1,000 clowns that dates back to her youth. Most were given to her as gifts, she said. The first clown she ever received was Mac, a tall, brown statue with a sad face. She received it from her father who wanted her to know that “it’s OK to cry sometimes,” she said.

She has notes from St. Nicholas students that she collected during her 22 years as principal here. Some are thank-you cards. Others are handwritten apologies or explanations from kids who were disciplined for their behavior. The notes were pinned to a board near the principal’s desk. Former students have returned years later to see what they had written to her, she said.

She has photos of students who were cast as Jesus in what she calls “the mime” – the living Stations of the Cross that she has been directing for decades during Lent.

There’s the metal baton that she kept from her years of coaching track and field. She has passed it to students who needed some encouragement. Her advice is what her father often told her when she was young: “Hang on. You can make it, even if you don’t win. Go the distance. Go to the finish line.”

On her desk was a mold of two small white hands, cupped and palms up, just big enough to hold a rosary or a few pieces of jewelry. Those hands were a reminder to her students “that they are surrounded with Jesus’ love,” she said. When children had a special prayer intention, they would go to her office to touch the hands and pray, she added.

Petrosky’s devotion to Jesus and daily prayer is so strong that she has influenced the habits of her students. She used the school’s public address system to lead children in prayer, and there were prayer corners in classrooms. Former students would call the school with special intentions. “I feel real, real good” that so many alumni have kept in touch throug the years, she said. “They know that every single day, we pray.”

Petrosky, now an Austintown resident, grew up in the Smoky Hollow neighborhood of Youngstown and attended SS. Cyril & Methodius School. “The Ursuline Sisters were my first teachers,” she said. By the time she was in eighth grade, she was a swimming teacher at the YMCA and believed education would be her career path.

“My ministry in education has truly been my blessing from God,” she said.

Petrosky graduated from Ursuline High School and earned degrees through the years at Youngstown State University, Indiana University and the University of Dayton.

She was an Ursuline sister when she received her first teaching assignment at Immaculate Conception School in Youngstown. She was placed in the primary grades, which was “wonderful,” she said, except children that age having a natural tendency to mimic adult behaviors. Petrosky has a motor tic, and she often carried rosary beads. Once the children began to do the same, she was reassigned to teach older children, she said.

Petrosky taught religion, physical education and health at many Catholic schools in Youngstown – including SS. Peter & Paul, Holy Name, SS. Cyril & Methodius and Ursuline and Cardinal Mooney high schools. She also taught at Archbishop Carroll High School, which was an all-girls school in Buffalo, N.Y., and at the former Villa Maria High School in Villa Maria, Pa.

Nineteen of her 50 years in education were as a teacher. “I’ve had every single grade except kindergarten – they were lucky,” Petrosky said, laughing. The other 31 years were spent as an elementary school principal, first at SS. Mary & Joseph in Newton Falls, then at St. Nicholas.

Petrosky is no longer a nun. “I was blessed with being a sister for 18 years,” she said. “It was, at that time, absolutely where I needed to be.” Despite leaving the order, her ministry in education did not change, she noted.

Petrosky speaks highly of the faculty and pastors who have supported St. Nicholas School. Teachers are “grounded in their faith and security. They chose to stay here because they believe in what they are doing,” she said. One thing parents love about Catholic schools is that teachers are “enhancing the set of values,” she added.

When Petrosky’s mother died two years ago, “I got through it on the wings of the other teachers. They care for each other,” she said.

Education is challenging today because “We have created a broken world for our kids,” she said. “The sad thing is, we think we want our kids to fix it.” If she had her way, families would “slow down, focus more, get a sense of peace.” She also encourages parents to remember they are moral centers for their children and to turn to Mass for grounding.

New teachers “have got to be creative, but there is also [a need for] a sense of structure” in the classroom, Petrosky said. “You can do any type of teaching if you are still in control and you have structure.” Teachers also need to “motivate family life for togetherness, prayer and church … so our children have a strong sense of God in their lives.”’

Petrosky also doesn’t believe children need to be entertained constantly. “My Mom used to say ‘Slow down,” she continued. “We need to be alone, but not lonely. That’s how we get to know Jesus in our lives.”

When students came to her office to be disciplined, “no matter how angry I was, I told them I loved them and we’ll make it better,” Petrosky said. “The bottom line is, too, they all want to be better.”

Besides teaching children, Petrosky has been leading workshops and retreats for diocesan teachers. “I want to continue to serve within the Church,” she said. She is scheduled to lead some teachers’ retreats before the next school year begins, she noted. She wants to continue to teach the issues class that she created for eighth graders – the class that compares current events with Jesus’ teachings and culminates in presentations of the Living Stations of the Cross, she said.

Petrosky is a member of Austintown Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish. She said she is interested in becoming a volunteer at Angels for Animals, a local shelter. She enjoys reading, writing and spending time at the ocean, especially in Maine. “I love to be by the water – the cleansing, you see,” she said.

She also plans to keep working on an autobiographical book with the title “Know When to Bow and Get Off the Stage.” “I’m in and out of it,” she said of the writing process to date. “It’s [about] all that I learned.”

Debora Shaulis Flora is a veteran journalist living in Youngstown

 

Friday, June 27, 2008
Sisters of Notre Dame to honor jubilarians at two events

The Sisters of Notre Dame will hold celebrations at 1:30 p.m. June 29 and July 13 at the Notre Dame Educational Center in Chardon, Ohio, for members of the order who are observing major jubilees in religious life this year.

Benedictine Abbot Clement Zeleznik will be the celebrant on June 29, and Father Paul Sciarrotta will be celebrant July 13. A reception in the Notre Dame Educational Center will follow each liturgy, 3-5 p.m.

The sisters whose biographical information appears below are those who entered religious life from the Diocese of Youngstown or who worked in the diocese, or both. Each of the sisters also had assignments in the Diocese of Cleveland, but the information presented here highlights their connection with the Youngstown Diocese.

65th Jubilee

Sister Mary Claudette Amrhein entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Sept. 8, 1940, from Parma St. Charles Parish. She taught as a primary teacher for a year at Mother of Sorrows, Ashtabula. She currently serves as a minister of prayer, presence and praise at the Provincial Center Health Care Center in Chardon, where she resides.

Sister Mary Deanna Lutch entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Feb. 2, 1941, from Cleveland St. Wendelin Parish. She taught as a primary teacher for two years at Mother of Sorrows, Ashtabula. She currently serves as a minister of prayer, presence and praise at the Provincial Center Health Care Center in Chardon, where she resides.

Sister Mary St. Jude Weisensell entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Feb. 2, 1941, from Cleveland St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish. She taught as an intermediate teacher for a year at St. Mary, Warren, and one year as a junior high teacher at Immaculate Heart of Mary Youngstown. She also served as a principal and junior high teacher at St. Peter, Canton. She currently resides at the Provincial Center Health Care Center in Chardon, where she is a minister of prayer, presence and praise.

60th Jubilee

Sister Regina Alfonso, formerly Sister Mary Gerard, entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Feb. 2, 1946, from St. Thomas Parish, Memphis, Tenn. She taught as an intermediate teacher for a year at Warren St. Mary. She currently serves as a reading teacher at Metro Catholic and St. Rocco schools in Cleveland.

Sister Marian Coughlin, formerly Sister Mary St. Patrick, entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Feb. 2, 1946, from Presentation Parish, Midland, Pa. She taught for three years as a primary teacher at Massillon St. Mary. She currently ministers in community service at the Notre Dame Educational Center in Chardon.

Sister Mary Annfrancis Demming entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Sept. 16, 1945, from Cleveland St. Ignatius Parish. She taught at both Austintown Immaculate Heart of Mary and Warren St. Mary for one year each as an intermediate teacher. She also served two years as primary teacher at Canton St. Peter and one year as a primary teacher at East Liverpool St. Aloysius. She currently serves in the finance office at the Notre Dame Cathedral Latin School in Chardon.

Sister Mary Caron Kehner entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Feb. 2, 1946, from Randolph St. Joseph Parish. She served two years as an intermediate teacher at Canton St. Peter, two years at Canton St. Michael as an intermediate and junior high teacher, 11 years at Austintown Immaculate Heart of Mary as an intermediate and junior high teacher, principal and local superior. She was also principal and local superior for six years at Massillon St. Mary. She currently serves as an advancement office assistant at the Provincial House in Chardon.

Sister Mary Teresa Langenderfer formerly Sister Mary Alberte, entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Sept. 8, 1945, from Swanton Immaculate Conception Marygrove Parish. She taught as a primary teacher for two years at Warren St. Mary, eight years at Canton St. Michael and three years at Massillon St. Mary. She currently serves as pastoral minister and assistant at St. Peter School in Lorain.

Sister Mary Theresa Ann Lynch entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Feb. 2, 1946, from Cleveland St. Aloysius Parish. She taught as a kindergarten/primary teacher for four years at Massillon St. Mary. She is currently committed to the ministry of prayer, presence and service at the Provincial Center in Chardon, where she resides.

Sister Mary Martha Maynard, formerly Sister Mary Cecilianne, entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Sept. 8, 1945, from Cleveland Heights St. Ann Parish. She served one year as a primary teacher at Canton St. Peter. She currently resides at the Provincial Center Health Care Center in Chardon, where she is a minister of prayer, presence and praise.

Sister Teresemarie McCloskey entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Feb. 2, 1946, from Toledo Immaculate Conception Parish. She taught as a high school teacher at Warren St. Mary High school for one year. She currently resides at the Provincial Center Health Care Center in Chardon, where she is a writer and committed to the ministry of prayer presence and praise.

Sister Mary Paulanne Perl entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Feb. 2, 1946, from Massillon St. Mary Parish. She taught many years throughout the Cleveland Diocese and in Virginia. She currently serves in the ministry of prayer, presence and service at the Provincial Center Health Care Center in Chardon, where she resides.

Sister Mary Alicemarie Resley entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Feb. 2, 1946, from Cleveland St. Agnes Parish. She taught for two years as a primary teacher at Warren St. Mary. She also served at Massillon St. Mary for a year in food service. Currently she serves in the Notre Dame India Mission Office at the Notre Dame Educational Center in Chardon.

Sister Mary Louise Trivision entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Sept. 8, 1945, from Wickliffe Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish. She taught two years at the former Warren St. Mary High School and two years at Youngstown Cardinal Mooney High. She currently serves as professor emerita at the Tolerance Resource Center Notre Dame College of Ohio.

Sister Mary Jonathan Zeleznik entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Feb. 2, 1946, from Cleveland St. Benedict Parish. She taught as an intermediate teacher for two years at Canton St. Peter, where she also served as director of religious education for four years and local superior for two years. At Warren Christ Our King she served as an intermediate teacher, junior high teacher, principal and local superior for five years. Currently she is committed to the pastoral care staff at the Provincial Center in Chardon, where she resides.

50th Jubilee

Sister Mary Lois Best, formerly Sister Mary Gene Frances, entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Sept. 8, 1955, from Euclid St. Paul Parish. She ministered in pastoral care for one year at Geneva Assumption Parish. She is currently serving in ministry with sick and elderly at St. Paschal Baylon Parish in Thousand Oaks, California.

Sister Ann Marie Boehnlein, formerly Sister Mary Regina Therese, entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Feb. 2, 1956, from Cleveland St. Peter Parish. She taught for one year at Canton St. Peter, and three years at Austintown Immaculate Heart of Mary. She currently is serving as principal of Austintown Immaculate Heart of Mary, where she has been for the past 16 years.

Sister Mary Luisanne Breen entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Sept. 8, 1955, from Cleveland St. Patrick (West Park) Parish. She taught one year at Warren Christ Our King and two years at Canton St. Peter. Currently she serves as a driver at the Provincial Center in Chardon and in pastoral care at Cleveland St. Procop.

Sister Mary Helen Louise Kist entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Sept. 8, 1955, from Cleveland Immaculate Conception Parish. She taught two years at Warren St. Mary, Massillon St. Mary and Warren SS. Cyril and Methodius. She taught four years at Austintown Immaculate Heart of Mary and was principal for two years at Austintown St. Joseph. She currently is the assistant to the Provincial Secretary at the Provincial Center in Chardon.

Sister Mary Agnes O’Malley, formerly Sister Mary Martin de Porres, entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Sept. 8, 1955, from Cleveland St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish. She was a teacher for a year at Massillon St. Mary and for two years at Canal Fulton SS. Philip and James. She was also a Director of Religious Education for six years at Orwell St. Mary and five years at Orwell St. Mary and Rock Creek Sacred Heart, where she still holds the latter position.

Sister Mary Karlene Seech entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Feb. 2, 1956, from Youngstown SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish. She served at Massillon St. Mary for five years, East Liverpool St. Aloysius for three years and Austintown Immaculate Heart of Mary for two years as a teacher. She currently serves as a primary resource teacher at Lyndhurst Julie Billiart School.

Sister Mary Janelle Stracensky entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Sept. 8, 1955, from Cleveland St. Wendelin Parish. She taught at Massillon St. Mary for six years. She currently ministers in community service at the Provincial Center in Chardon.

Sister Mary Kathleen Tobin, formerly Sister Mary Dianne, entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Feb. 2, 1956, from Cortland St. Robert Parish. She was a teacher for a year at Austintown St. Joseph and a nurses’ aide for a year at Canton Maryhill Convalescent Home. She now serves as a nurse at the Provincial Center Health Care Center in Chardon.

 

Friday, June 13, 2008
Bro. Johnson, Yo. native, to mark 50th with Holy Cross

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – On June 21, Holy Cross Brother Richard Johnson will celebrate his 50th anniversary of religious vows during a ceremony at Sacred Heart Basilica, University of Notre Dame. He will be among 25 brothers who will be celebrating anniversaries from 70 to 25 years.

There are three things that keep Brother Richard interested in life: the missions in Ghana, computers and working with the deaf. The native of Youngstown joined the community after graduating from Ursuline High School in 1956. Between 1970 and 2000 he served in Ghana for 12 years on three different occasions. This past November through March he went back to Ghana for its 50th anniversary celebration and to work on their Web page.

Brother Richard is currently the Midwest Province webmaster and serves as communications director for the Holy Cross Associates program. He lives with the Columba Hall community. He began working with computers at Gilmour Academy in 1967 and has used his skills throughout the years, including assignments in the provincial accounting offices and at the business office of Boysville of Michigan.

His work with the deaf began in 1974, when he had three deaf students in his math class at Holy Trinity High School in Chicago. In the late 1990s he had deaf students in his classes in Cape Coast and Secondi, Ghana, West Africa. He spent a summer studying sign language at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

Through the years Brother Richard served at more than a dozen institutions throughout the world. Besides his years in Ghana, he spent two years at St. Joseph High School, Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

 

Friday, June 13, 2008
Kohl named Mooney hoops coach

Humility of Mary Sister Jane Marie Kudlacz, principal of Cardinal Mooney High School, has announced the appointment of Chris Kohl as the head basketball coach at the southside Youngstown school. Kohl will succeed Steve Leslie, who resigned at the conclusion of the season.

Kohl brings 21 years of basketball coaching experience with him as he takes the helm of the Cardinal Mooney program. For the past four years, he has served as a varsity assistant coach at Mooney. In addition, he was an assistant coach at Liberty from 1988 to 1990, when the Leopards appeared in the state Div II finals.

From 1993-2002, Kohl was a member of the Struthers Wildcat program, serving as a varsity assistant, when the squad made their regional finals appearance in1999. In addition, he has coached scholastically at Lordstown and with the AAU program.

In commenting on Kohl’s appointment, Sister Jane Marie noted, “We are fortunate to attract a coach with the experience that Chris brings with him and, at the same time, have someone take over the leadership of our program that is familiar with our players, traditions, and expectations.”

Kohl is a social studies teacher at Liberty High School.

 

Friday, June 13, 2008
Workshop on new immigrants shows challenge, opportunities

By Debora Shaulis Flora
Special to the Exponent

YOUNGSTOWN – The Mahoning Valley region may not be the center of explosive immigrant population growth in Ohio, but significant numbers of immigrants have migrated here in the last decade – blunting overall population losses in the process but also presenting new challenges and opportunities for the community at large.

That characterized the discussion May 19 during the first of three workshops on “New Immigrants in Tri-County Area: Global Landscapes & Local Contexts” at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, 151 W. Wood St. About 30 people participated. The workshops are sponsored by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Youngstown and the Immigrant Worker Project (IWP), an advocate for rural immigrant workers from Latin America.

Dr. Jeff Stewart, who directs Canton-based IWP, was the principal investigator of a study titled “Abstract: Regional Demographics for Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties, December 2007.” That report was sponsored by Catholic Charities and the Raymond John Wean Foundation.

Stewart, one of the workshop speakers, said random sampling of the tri-county Latino/Latina immigrant community is difficult. These households rely on cell phones rather than landline phones, so few names and addresses appear in phone or city directories. Immigrants also may live in the shadows if they are not documented – in other words, are not government-authorized immigrant workers.

Stewart and his peers took a 2 percent sample of new Latino/Latina immigrants from the Immigrant Worker Project’s “Brief Report on Current Changes of Ethnicity & Language in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties,” which concluded that about 14,100 new immigrants have come here from Latin America in the last 10 years. That is a 180 percent increase over the prior decade and “a big number for an economically depressed area,” Stewart said.

Based on the sample, Stewart and company reported:

Latino/Latina immigrants in these counties are mostly Mexican and male; q Many are working entry-level jobs in agriculture, service and construction industries;

A majority of new immigrants worked in agriculture at home in Mexico, Central America and other countries until employment opportunities dwindled;

Most immigrants have been separated from their families, who remain in their native countries;

Immigrants work long hours (60-70 per week), are isolated from one another and have little contact outside of work with non-immigrants.

A majority of immigrants came here to find work, Stewart said. The implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) resulted in the loss of about 300,000 small and medium-sized businesses in Mexico, he said. Corn farmers were “devastated,” he added, when the Mexican government phased out its price supports for homegrown corn and allowed shipments of cheaper U.S.-grown corn to flood the market, also as part of NAFTA.

The number of entry-level jobs here is greater than the people available to fill those positions, Stewart said. The work pool might be larger if these were living-wage jobs, he noted.

Median income for Latino/Latina immigrants is $1,302 per month, or $15,600 per year, Stewart said. Seven to 15 males will share two- or three-bedroom apartments in order to control their costs and send home as much money as possible. They can be “devastatingly lonely,” which can lead to substance abuse, he said. Migration also contributes to fractured families, “something we are not coming to grips with,” he added. Dr. Rosemary D’Apolito, associate professor of sociology and anthropology at Youngstown State University, said inhabitants of the present-day Youngstown area represent “a little microcosm of the world.” She and her students analyzed data about the racial composition of the populations of Youngstown and Warren. While the number of non-Hispanic white people dropped by about 20,000 from 1980 to 2000, population increased not only among Hispanics, but also immigrants of Arab, Lebanese, Asian Indian and Russian heritage, she said.

Dr. D’Apolito was accompanied by six women who have taken English as a second language classes locally. Many of the women – originally from Palestine, Russia, Korea, Germany and Libya – spoke about their willingness to learn English, interest in preserving their own culture, efforts to adapt to local lifestyles and overall friendliness of the citizenry.

Another workshop participant, Melvin Rios, 28, of New Philadelphia, said he left his home in Guatemala at age 17 because he wanted to go to college. His low-income family couldn’t afford tuition, so Rios obtained a visa and arrived in Ohio in 1998. He spent years working 10-hour days in bad conditions at a chicken factory for $6 an hour. He found another job at another chicken factory where conditions were slightly better and some 5-cent-an-hour raises were granted. Eventually, Rios began to organize workers at the factory, and they currently are negotiating their first contract, he said.

Rios knew when he arrived in the States that he needed to take English classes, he said. In his experience, there are more persons who want to learn English than there are available classes. For some Guatemalans, the process takes time because they are indigenous Mayan people who speak any of 26 different Mayan languages. They must learn Spanish before they can take English as a second language courses, he noted.

There is a bill in the Ohio legislature that, if approved, will make English the official state language, Stewart said. Among its effects will be the ability for hospital workers and social service workers to communicate with persons in need. Previous generations of immigrants who arrived in the United States did not learn English immediately. “We’re mythicizing the process that occurred before,” Stewart said.

Hunter Morrison, director of campus planning and community development at Youngstown State University, recalled signs that had been posted at local steel mills in various languages, in order to communicate with workers of various backgrounds.

Another bill would require local police to work with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, an office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Police relationships with residents will be severely impacted if immigrants are afraid to report crimes for fear of deportation, Stewart said.

Morrison asked what residents can do to encourage more immigrants to settle here. The women’s suggestions included making it easier for them to interact with other persons from their home countries and promoting local safety.

What also helps is being fully accepted into a community as “I’m trying to accept you – your language, your culture,” Rios said.

Armando Labra, 40, of Canfield, a laborer at General Motors and adviser to the Institute of Mexicans Abroad, said quality of life here is “relatively great” and he believes those who work hard will reap benefits. Ohio is “nice at the local level, but rough at the state level” because of changing laws. He would advise friends back home to settle in Illinois or San Francisco these days, he said.

“You can’t be a welcoming community if the laws are beating people over the head,” Stewart said.

An additional workshop will be held on “New Immigrants, Work & Labor: Organizing in the 21st Century” at 7 p.m. June 23. This workshop also will be at the Historical Center of Industry and Labor (also known as the Steel Museum).

Shaulis Flora is a veteran journalist living in the Youngstown area

 

Friday, June 13, 2008
Msgr. Zuraw named to administrative post; new assignments announced for 10 priests

Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., has announced the appointment of Msgr. John Zuraw to the new post of Vicar for Administration and new appointments for 10 other priests, including one newly-ordained and one new to the diocese. Bishop Murry has also accepted the retirement request of Father Fredrick Lukehart, pastor of Warren Christ Our King Parish, effective Aug. 1.

In his new role, Msgr. Zuraw will head the Diocesan Study of Parishes and Schools currently being undertaken, the results of which are expected to be reported in early 2009. His appointment is effective July 1. Msgr. Zuraw will continue in his present roles as administrator of Youngstown Immaculate Conception parish and director of the Permanent Diaconate.

The new assignments for diocesan priests include two priests taking on their first pastorate in the diocese, and two priests who will add a second pastorate to their current duties.

Father David Menegay, formerly associate pastor of North Canton St. Paul Parish, will assume his first pastorate at Louisville St. Louis Parish, effective Aug. 4.

Father Michael Garvey, associate pastor of Girard St. Rose, will assume his first pastorate of Mantua St. Joseph Parish, effective July1.

Father James Walker, pastor of SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish in Warren, has accepted the additional pastorate of Warren Christ Our King, effective Aug. 1.

Father Joseph Ruggieri, pastor of Ashtabula Our Lady of Mount Carmel, has taken on the additional pastorate of Ashtabula Mother of Sorrow Parish. That appointment was effective May 24.

Msgr. Kenneth Miller, pastor of Louisville St. Louis Parish, has been named 2002. He became pastor of Warren SS. Cyril & Methodius Parish in 1998.

Father Walker has written the Scriptural reflection column, “The Word,” for many years in the Catholic Exponent.

FATHER RUGGIERI, pastor of Ashtabula Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and also newly-named pastor of Ashtabula Mother of Sorrows, is a native of Austintown. He was born March 18, 1967, and is a 1985 graduate of Austintown Fitch High School. He earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy from the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, in 1990, and completed studies for the priesthood at Mount St. Mary’s of the West Seminary, Cincinnati, where he earned a master’s in divinity. He was ordained May 20, 1995, by Bishop James W. Malone in St. Columba Cathedral.

Following ordination, Father Ruggieri was named associate pastor of Kent St. Patrick Parish. In July 2000, he became associate pastor of Canton St. Joan of Arc. He was named pastor of Ashtabula Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in August 2003. He now retains that position while adding the role of pastor of Ashtabula Mother of Sorrows.

MONSIGNOR MILLER, newly named associate principal of Ursuline High School and previously pastor of Louisville St. Louis Parish (since 1998), was born Sept. 4, 1946, in Youngstown. He attended St. Brendan School and Ursuline High School. He earned degrees from Youngstown State University and the University of Illinois, majoring in economics and labor relations. He taught economics and social studies at Youngstown State University from 1969-73 prior to entering the seminary.

He earned master’s degrees in Systematic Theology and Biblical Studies from the Athenaeum of Ohio, the degree-granting institution for Mount St. Mary’s of the West Seminary, Cincinnati. In 1989, he earned a master’s in Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry from Boston College. He was ordained June 18, 1977, in St. Columba Cathedral by Bishop James W. Malone.

Following ordination, Father Miller served as associate pastor of Canton St. Joan of Arc Parish (1977-79) and taught at Canton Central Catholic High School (1979-86) and Ursuline High School (1986-87) before accepting the directorship of the diocesan offices of Church Vocations and the Permanent Diaconate (1987-96). He was also Stark deanery coordinator for youth ministry and served on the Senate of Priests.

Father Miller was named vicar for Catholic education in 1990 and executive director of the diocesan Department of Educational Services in 1995. In 1996 he became executive director of the Department of Pastoral and Educational Services. In May of 1997, he was named a Chaplain of His Holiness by Pope John Paul II and given the title of “monsignor.” He became pastor of Louisville St. Louis Parish in 1998.

Monsignor Miller has also been a Knights of Columbus chaplain for the Louisville chapter.

FATHER PETERS, who becomes associate pastor of Struthers St. Nicholas Parish, is a native of Youngstown. He attended St. Brendan School and Ursuline High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus. He earned a Master’s in Divinity at the Athenaeum/Mount St. Mary’s of the West Seminary, Cincinnati, and was ordained June 9, 1990, by Bishop James W. Malone in St. Columba Cathedral.

Following ordination, Father Peters was named associate pastor of Canton St. Joan of Arc Parish. In January of 2000, he became associate pastor of North Canton St. Paul Parish, serving briefly before being named pastor of Ashtabula Mother of Sorrows in July 2000, where he served until 2006. Most recently he was on a leave of absence.

FATHER WHETSTONE, a native of Warren, graduated from Warren G. Harding High School in 1961 and served from 1966 to 1968 in the U.S. Army. He graduated from Youngstown State University in 1976. He has taught at St. James School in Warren (1970-75) and SS. Peter & Paul School in Warren (1976-78). He began studies for the priesthood at Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh in 1979 and was ordained a bi-ritual priest May 1, 1983.

Following his ordination, Father Whetstone served as Parochial Vicar at SS. Peter & Paul in Warren (1983-85) and studied Canon Law at the Pontifical Orientale in Rome (1985-87). He served as administrator of St. Mary Parish in Pittsburgh (1987-92) and was appointed chair for the Eastern Canon Law commission for the Canon Law Society of America, a post he held for 10 years. From 1990 to 1996 he taught Canon Law in Pittsburgh. From 1987 to the present, he has been a judge on the Archieparchial Tribunal, and from 1992 to 1995 was the administrator of St. Stephen Parish in North Huntingdon, Pa., and St. Mary Parish in Herminie, Pa. From 1995 to 2001, he served as pastor of St. John Parish in Uniontown, Pa. He was also appointed Judicial Vicar and Vicar for Canonical Services, while also serving as a member of the Presbyteral Council and a Consultor.

He was in residence at SS. Peter & Paul Parish in Warren (2001-03) before being named pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Gibsonia, Pa., in 2003, where he served until 2005. During that time, he also served as administrator of Holy Ghost Parish in Pittsburgh and taught Canonical Jurisprudence at Franciscan University of Steubenville. From 2005 to the present, he has served as pastor of St. Stephen Parish in North Huntingdon, Pa., and administrator of St. Mary in Herminie, Pa.

During his most recent pastorate, Father Whetstone has also served on the Diocese of Pittsburgh Presbyteral Council; on the board of directors of Byzantine Catholic Seminary; as judicial vicar for the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh and Ukrainian Eparchy of St. Josaphat of Parma, Ohio; and as a judge for tribunals in Pittsburgh and Philadephia.

FATHER LUKEHART, who is retiring from his pastorate at Warren Christ Our King Parish, is a native of Erie, Pa. He was born Dec. 28, 1936, and attended Harding School, Strong Vincent High School, Cathedral Prep and Gannon College. He earned a bachelor of arts from St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, N.Y., and studied theology at Christ the King Seminary, Olean, N.Y. He was ordained April 21, 1963, in St. Columba Cathedral, the first priest to be ordained by then-Auxiliary Bishop James W. Malone.

Following his ordination, Father Lukehart was named assistant pastor at Youngstown St. Brendan Parish, and later served on the faculties of Ursuline High School, Youngstown; St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Louisville; and Central Catholic High School, Canton, where he also served as principal. He was named pastor of Conneaut St. Frances Cabrini Parish in June 1976 before assuming the pastorate of Austintown St. Joseph in July, 1990. He became pastor of Warren Christ Our King in Nov. 1998.

Father Lukehart has served as the chaplain for the Civil Air Patrol and for the Serra Club of Youngstown. He has been a board member of St. Joseph Hospice in Louisville and Junior Achievement. He has been a Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus and served as a defender of the bond for the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal. He has served as assistant superintendent of schools for Stark County, as a Synod ’76 judge, as a member of the Diocesan Financial Advisory Board, as a board member of the Catholic Telecommunications Network of Youngstown (CTNY), as president of the Conneaut Area Ministerial Association for two terms, and director of PAVLA and ELV of Stark County.

He has served as Dean of Trumbull County since July 2002.

 

Friday, June 13, 2008
Youth, adults honored at annual diocesan Mass for scouts

Bishop George Murry, S.J., presided at the annual Diocesan Scout Mass, held May 17 in St. Columba Cathedral.

Scouts from around the diocese and their adult leaders were honored for various achievements during the gathering. Bishop Murry presented the awards along with Father Leo Wehrlin, chaplain of the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting and pastor of Garrettsville St. Ambrose Parish.

The youth awards included the Ad Altare Dei Award, the Marian Medal and the Pope Pius XII Award. Recent recipients of the Eagle Scout rank were also recognized. The adult awards presented included the Bronze Pelican, the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal and the St. George Medal. Awards given to groups of scouts included the Good Shepherd Award and the Pope Paul VI Quality Unit Award.

2008 Ad Altare Dei Award

Sidnay Aaron, Holy Family, Poland; Andrew Bostwick, St. Paul, Salem; Stephen Brown, St. Brendan, Youngstown; Christian Campbell, St. Mary, Massillon; Thomas Castner, St. Joseph, Randolph; Zachary Corby, St. Catherine, Lake Milton; Matthew Cowles, Holy Family, Poland; Sam Cowles, Holy Family, Poland; Vincent Cuenot, St. Paul, Canton; Nathan Cummings, St. Patrick, Hubbard; Thomas Durst, Immaculate Conception, Ravenna; Matthew Eicher, St. Paul, North Canton; Troy Fitzwilliams, St. Brendan, Youngstown; Alex Green, St. Paul, Salem; Michael Hritz, St. Paul, Salem; Adam Kasper, St. Paul, Canton; Adam Loza, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Niles; Marcus Masello, St. Charles, Boardman; James Mullarkey, St. Michael, Canfield, Edward Mullett, St. Robert, Cortland; Justin Mullett, St. Robert, Cortland; Sean Mullett, St. Robert, Cortland; Jordan Panezott, St. Paul, Salem; James Russo, St. Michael The Archangel, Canton; Matthew Sahadi, St. Paul, North Canton; Scott Shilling, St. Christine, Youngstown; Benjamin Speicht, St. Mary, Massillon; Joshua Tabellion, St. Michael the Archangel, Canton; Jacob Thompson, St. Paul, Salem; and Adam Valentine, St. Paul, North Canton.

2008 Marian Medal

Abigail Benedict, St. Joan of Arc, Canton; Tricia Burger, St. Joan of Arc, Canton; Mercedes Dahler, St. Joan of Arc, Canton; Jennifer Holsworth, St. Joan of Arc, Canton; Andrea Kardenhely, St. Mary, Massillon; Emily Keane, St. Mary, Massillon; Jillian Knepshield, St. Mary, Massillon; Jamie Matheson, St. Joan of Arc, Canton; Angela Musisca, St. Joan of Arc, Canton; Kelsey O’Donnell, St. Joan of Arc, Canton; Allison Vick, St. Joan of Arc, Canton.

2008 Pope Pius XII

Dan Albertini, St. Charles, Boardman; Brian Botti, Our Lady of Peace, Canton; Megan Day, St. James, Lake Milton; Michael Drajic, St. Luke, Boardman; Toni Fitzwilliams, St. Brendan, Youngstown; Brandon Floor, St. Paul, Salem; Jason Floor, St. Paul, Salem; Matthew Franks, St. Mary, Massillon; Isaac Franks, St. Mary, Massillon; Grant Headley, St. Joseph, Ashtabula; Jeffrey Hill, St. Patrick, Youngstown; Joseph Illencik, St. Dominc, Youngstown; Chadd Kasper, St. Paul, Canton; Connor Kelly, St. Luke, Boardman; Joshua Kerr, St. Michael the Archangel, Canton; Spenser Long, St. Joseph, Canton; Daniel Prather, SS. Phillip and James, Canal Fulton; Matthew Stolfer, St. Joseph, Ashtabula; and William Wainio, St. Luke, Boardman.

2008 Spirit Alive

Arielle Ambrosy, St. Mary, Warren; Carolyn Averback, Blessed Sacrament, Warren; Catherine Latell, Blessed Sacrament, Warren; Elena Pipino, Blessed Sacrament, Warren; Hannah Prokop, St. James, Warren; and Gabriella Sebber, St. Joseph, Warren.

Gold Award

Arielle Ambrosy, St. Mary, Warren; Monica Neuman, Blessed Sacrament, Warren; Elena Pipino, Blessed Sacrament, Warren; Gabriella Sebber, St. Joseph, Warren; and Hannah Prokop, St. James, Warren.

Eagle Scout Rank

Daniel Bove, Michael Brand, Scott Brand, Michael Cerrone, Michael DeComo, Stephen Durham, Daniel O’Brien, Joseph Opran, James Penezott Jr., Alexander Speight and Daniel Sicker.

2008 Bronze Pelican

William Benedetto, St. Paul, North Canton; Faith Hotovec, St. Joseph, Ashtabula; Pam Kiko, St. Paul, Salem; Martha Pratt, Little Flower, Middlebranch; and Patrick Trainor, St. Paul, North Canton.

2008 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal

Theresa Burger, St. Joan of Arc, Canton; Sue McDaniel, St. Joan of Arc, Canton; and Pagan Musisca, St. Joan of Arc, Canton.

2008 St. Ann Medal

Mary Pipino, Blessed Sacrament, Warren.

2008 St. George Medal

Catherine Anderson, St. Paul, Salem; Joseph Illencik, St. Dominic, Youngstown; Greg King, St. Francis Assisi; Dolores Sullivan, St. Rose, Girard; Jack Sullivan, St. Rose, Girard; Richard Weber, St. Paul, North Canton and Bishop George Murry, S.J.

Good Shepherd Award

Pack 35, St. Paul, North Canton; and Pack 46, Boardman.

Pope Paul VI – Quality Unit Award

Troop 272, Windsor; and Knights of Columbus 5589.

National Catholic Committee on Scouting Quality Diocese Award

Alan Tarlo Sr., Chairman of Region 6.

 

Friday, May 30, 2008
Canton St. Anthony’s spirit, ministries flourish on 100th birthday

By Louise McNulty
Special to the Exponent

St. Anthony Parish in Canton is a parish that lives out its motto: “Per Sempre Casa,” which means “Forever Home,” in Italian.

Only a handful of parishioners live within the traditional parish boundaries, yet members are willing to travel to the church because it is like a home to them, they say. The parish, which turns 100 this year, remains filled with life and dedicated parishioners – 800 families, plus a growing Hispanic community of 400 more people. It is the only church in Stark County that offers a weekly Sunday Mass in Spanish.

This is a far cry from the congregation that was established in 1908 as a mission to serve greater Canton’s Italian population. The original structure was a frame building on Liberty Street S.E.

When that church deteriorated and needed to be rebuilt, the lot wasn’t large enough to meet the growing parish’s needs. The present site of St. Anthony’s, on 11th Street S.E., was selected because Edith Albert donated 21 city lots to the parish, with only one stipulation – that a substantial building be constructed there.

The new church was dedicated on Dec. 11, 1927, and a school and rectory were built within the next few years. The elementary school was staffed by members of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary from 1928 through 1980, when the school closed.

It’s all very well to talk about the “hominess” and welcoming attitude of a church, but actions mean more than words.

Father Thomas Bishop, who is starting his 13th year as St. Anthony pastor, says that, although the parish started out with Italian immigrants, the church reaches out to all nationalities, drawing from all over Canton.

“We still celebrate the wonderful Italian traditions of family, socializing and eating together,” he says, adding that volunteers are in large supply, and “every event we have is sold out long before it takes place.”

One such event is the bake sales held monthly, except for July and August, by woman of the Miraculous Medal Sodality. Highlights of the sale are home-made pizza and sauce and pizza fritta – fried dough sprinkled with sugar.

Another tradition at the parish is the celebration of the feast of St. Anthony de Padua on the Sunday closest to the saint’s June 13 feast day. Because of the parish’s jubilee, this year’s Mass (June 8) will be celebrated by Bishop George Murry, S.J.

St. Anthony Day is loosely described by most parishioners as an outdoor Mass with a big picnic. A tent that seats 800 people is set up outside the church, since there is only one Mass (at 10:30 a.m.) that day. There is also a procession around the block with parishioners carrying a statue of the patron saint.

The Feast Day Coordinator for the past nine years is long-time parishioner Michael A. Sylvester.

He says the festivities generally consist of food, games and bands. “It’s a typical parish get-together with food and drink,” Sylvester says with a smile. A local restaurant owner, he says he has no problem with the task of feeding about 1,100 people during the day.

Although food is sold, Sylvester says, “St. Anthony Day is more a community builder than a fund-raiser. All the food comes through donations, parishioners pay to sponsor the games and the church itself actually doesn’t put out any money, Sylester says.

The day ends with Benediction at 5 p.m. And the amazing thing, the coordinator notes, is that people always volunteer to stay and help with the clean-up.

Everything usually goes quite smoothly, but Joe Marcoaldi, a member of the Parish Council and a parishioner all his life, has a great family story about the festival.

“There used to be fireworks set off when the Monstrance was raised,” he says. “It was my grandpa’s job to stand at the back door, wait for the proper moment , then signal the man who would light the fireworks outside. One year, someone passing by stopped and asked Joe’s grandfather for directions. When he raised his hand to point the way, the fireworks handler thought that was the signal. As it turned out, the pastor, Msgr. James McLaughlin, was giving his sermon at that time and he had just said the words ‘God in Heaven,’ when the fireworks exploded.

Joe also remembers stories his Uncle Tony Diano told about St. Anthony festivals in which elephants and ponies were brought to provide rides.

“These festivals really brought the neighborhood and church together,” Marcoaldi says, “I was born, baptized, raised and schooled here. And even now that I live in East Sparta, St. Anthony’s is home.”

Although St. Anthony hasn’t had an elementary school since 1980, the parish actively promotes the religious education of its children. Father Bishop explains, “We pay the full cost for our children who go to Catholic schools [kindergarten through 8th grade], and it is a blessing that 97 percent of their families come with them weekly to Sunday Mass. That isn’t the case at all parishes.”

Parish children who attend public schools are cared for as well. Besides offering regular CCD instruction, Anne Marie Vega heads a team of dedicated catechists who teach the “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd” (a Montessori-based program) for children from preschool to third grade, the only parish in Stark County to offer it. Vega, a school teacher who was trained in the Montessori method, likes how it works with religious education. “It speaks to who they [the children] are; it respects them as children of God and it brings out the religious potential within them,” she says. Once enough catechists are trained, the program will be extended to grade eight.

As for the parish teens, Youth Minister Roger Herstine, 25, says he concentrates on three components in his ministry. “First there’s formation,” says the stay-at-home dad of a nine-month-old son. We study the Catholic Youth Bible and relate it to their lives. To encourage service, we might adopt a family from the Giving Tree, or help seniors get ready for winter by raking their leaves and putting up storm windows. We even put on a dinner and variety show for them to celebrate what they mean to us.” Finally, there is the social component, which Herstine says shows young people that whether it’s a movie night, a game night or going to a theme park, you can have fun and a social life through church.

Overseeing religious education for the parish as a whole is Mary Lou Vega, who has been the parish Director of Religious Education (DRE) since 1996. A missionary in Kenya for four years before she met her husband and converted to Catholicism, Vega had been teaching CCD on and off since 1972, getting her master’s degree in ministry before accepting the DRE job at St. Anthony’s. Vega’s three children, including Anne Marie, who heads the Good Shepherd program, attended both Catholic schools and the CCD programs at St. An Enthusiastic about her work, Vega says, “I love it. It’s the best job in the world. I am privileged to be paid for something I love to do.”

Father Bishop, who served at five other parishes before coming to St. Anthony’s 13 years ago, says the parish is special because “our theme [mission statement] is about celebrating God’s faithful love – and that’s what the people here do. Our parish has exceptional outreach in the service and love of children and the poor.

“We partner with the Diocese of Contonou in Benin, West Africa, where we support a Peace and Justice center, a Catholic newspaper and a leper colony,” the priest notes. “The parish has also helped educate, clothe and have a sewage system put in for children in an orphanage in Nicaragua.”

It is in this spirit of outreach that St. Anthony’s became the religious home of the Hispanics in Stark County.

Franciscan Sister Karen Lindenberger is the Hispanic Pastoral Minister. Her work includes helping prepare children for receiving sacraments, working with families to get appointments at clinics or get public assistance when needed and generally acting as an interpreter for them in the community. “We’re also big on encouraging kids to increase their education and literacy skills. We work with students from Walsh University to provide English language tutoring and offer a six-week summer school program, where we teach language skills, phonics and reading – big time – to six to ten-year-olds.”

Father Bishop adds that the parish outreach really begins at home. “We are in a low-income, multi-cultural community and we not only reach out to our neighbors, but we want them to know we’re in the neighborhood to stay.”

Obviously, St. Anthony is ready to start its second hundred years.

The parish started its centennial celebrations early, with a Dec. 11 dinner and Mass marking the 80th anniversary of the present church building. The fete included a Mass procession with descendants of those who built and founded the church and a dinner, including homemade wine and spaghetti sauces.

Other anniversary milestones have included publishing a pictorial history and parishioner directory, producing a cookbook with more than 500 recipes collected from parishioners, and securing an Apostolic Blessing from Pope Benedict XVI.

Still to come are the very special St. Anthony’s Day festival celebration June 8, a centennial float in the Hall of Fame Parade and a dinner at La Pizzaria Restaurant Aug. 24.

Tricia Cusano, coordinator for the latter, says that the restaurant holds 500 people and “I anticipate that we’ll easily have that many attend. We’ll be starting at 5 p.m. with hors d’oevres, then we’ll have dinner and dancing.” Invited are the bishop, the mayor and council members. And everyone can just come “casual-dressy” Cusano added, explaining that it is important that people be comfortable.

A parish cannot accomplish much without dedicated employees. The following staff members help St. Anthony’s flourish under the leadership of Father Bishop: Deborah Matheson, administrative assistant; Sister Karen Lindenberger (a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin) Hispanic ministry; Mary Lou Vega, DRE; Pattie Konowal, RCIA coordinator; Patricia Filigno, pastoral care; Roger Herstine, youth ministry; Louise Rizzo and Tina Riese, secretaries; Wayne Fritter, maintenance; Michele Higham and Dan Fladung, music; and Rosemary Mahon, prayer chain.

And, at every parish, there seems to be at least one unsung hero – a volunteer who doesn’t stand in the spotlight but whose contributions to the parish are invaluable. Asking around, it was evident that that particular person at St. Anthony’s is Anita Parcher, the parish sacristan since she was a little girl.

The 76-year-old says she used to help when the sisters went on vacation. Later she got married and lived across the street so, she says, she was always on hand.

Once the sisters left the parish, Parcher became the full-time sacristan. “Now I have health problems,” she says, “but I’m not ready to retire. Eight of my nine children live in town so we make a schedule and one or the other will take me down. I really enjoy it. And it’s good to get together [with my children] to do the Lord’s work.”

St. Anthony Parish is also known for its native daughter, Rita Rizzo, who went on to become the popular Mother Angelica, a Poor Clare Nun of Perpetual Adoration who founded EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) in Irondale, Ala., in 1981. Today, the EWTN Global Catholic Network brings Catholic news and feature programming to countries around the world 24 hours a day. Mother Angelica lives at the monastery she founded, Our Lady of the Angels in Hanceville, Ala.

 

Friday, May 30, 2008
Bishop to ordain Christopher Henyk as newest priest May 31

Deacon’s journey from Poland to diocesan priesthood took some surprising turns

By Lou Jacquet

When Bishop George Murry, S.J., lays hands on Christopher Henyk to ordain him as the newest diocesan priest at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow morning (May 31) in St. Columba Cathedral, it will be the culmination of a journey in some ways so improbable that anyone but the Holy Spirit would express surprise.

The man had, after all, planned to be a missionary priest in Madagascar with the Missionaries of La Salette, an order founded in France which had served his hometown parish. How he ended up becoming a priest of the Diocese of Youngstown is quite a story.

Henyk, 34, who has been a transitional deacon for the past year, is a native of Trzcianka, Poland. His parents, Edward and Janina, will be on hand for the ordination as will his aunt, Leokadia Ambrozy. His four grown siblings – Peter, Paul, Eva and Mario – remain in Poland.

Father Henyk will celebrate his first Mass at St. Mary and St. Joseph Parish in Newton Falls at 11 a.m. June 1.

Two diocesan priests present for the ordination will be especially proud of the moment: Msgr. John Zuraw, executive director of the diocesan Department of Clergy and Religious Services, and Father Maciej Mankowski, pastor of St. Mary and St. Joseph Parish. Both played a significant part in bringing Henyk to the Diocese of Youngstown to study for priesthood here. That had not been in his plans when he first left Poland. He had planned to study for priesthood with the Missionaries of La Salette in the United States, but ended up choosing to finish his master’s in Orchard Lake, Mich., where he met Father Mankowski and Monsignor Zuraw. They invited him to come to the Diocese of Youngstown.

Henyk, a thoughtful and articulate young man who smiles and laughs easily, has overcome genuine challenges to arrive at his ordination day. For one thing, when he arrived in the United States in 1994, he barely knew English. “I just couldn’t communicate,” he says now. For another, coming to this country meant leaving his tight-knit family behind in Poland; he has only visited them twice since arriving in America. It was not an easy transition. After three months, he was “packed and ready to go back to Poland,” until he got help with his language skills and quickly mastered English. He was already fluent in German, Polish and Russian when he arrived here.

Henyk believes the seeds of his vocation were planted long ago in Poland, where he grew up in a “very faithful, very traditional kind of Catholic family” – his parents went to church on weekdays and he was serving Mass by the second grade. He attended a public elementary school – there are no Catholic schools in Poland, but priests do teach religion in public schools there – and spent time around the dozen priests serving in his parish. He got to know them, saw them in ministry situations and saw how they lived their lives outside of parish situations. “I liked how they helped people and prayed with people,” he recalled. “I saw how they were human beings, with other things to do besides celebrating Mass.”

Following high school, where he had also spent time on hikes and retreats with priests serving his parish as part of the youth group there, Henyk studied philosophy in Krakow at the Jagiellonian, where the future Pope John Paul II had been a student. He said the move to the United States, where he first ended up in a small town in Connecticut, might have been more of a cultural shock had he not studied in Krakow, a large city quite different from his hometown. Eventually he earned a master of arts in Systematic Theology at SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary, Orchard Lake, Mich., and completed a pastoral year at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Warren. He finished his studies for the priesthood at St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, Pa., earning a master’s of divinity.

Looking back, Henyk said his parents and family were supportive of his decision to leave home and study for the priesthood. “They were happy for my decision to follow priesthood, but I’m not so sure they were thrilled about me leaving the country. But they felt it was God’s will. It wasn’t an easy thing for them, to realize that I would not be with them anymore; they are a close-knit family and I am so far away. But they have learned to live with that and they are happy for me. They do wish I could spend more family times with them. I haven’t been home at Christmas in a dozen years.” No matter how far he happens to be from his parents, he said, “I’ll always have love and gratitude for what they sent me off with, that great faith that God watches over us and leads us.”

Asked if he thought being a priest in the United States would be in some ways different from serving in the same role in Poland, had he stayed there, Henyk thought for a moment. “It’s an interesting question,” he acknowledged. “I’m not sure the priesthood itself would vary that much, because I think priesthood is similar wherever you go. The qualities of what the priest should do and be are the same. He should celebrate the sacraments, and be with the people at the crucial moments in their lifetime. The biggest difference would not be ministerial or practical, but numbers.” His diocese in Poland has 150 seminarians, he said, and the average parish there has five or six priests. “So the ministerial side would be the same, but socializing, for example, would be spent among more priests if I were living in Poland.”

In his non-ministerial moments, the just-graduated seminarian likes to bike, swim, travel, listen to classical music – “any thing but heavy metal” – and read. He also enjoys teaching and says “I especially like to be with people, which energizes me – either with friends or people who might become my friends. I enjoy being invited to events where I meet others.” He also enjoys spending time with priests. “None of us are in this alone,” he explains.

However he happened to end up here, Henyk adds, it was a good thing. “I enjoy being in this diocese. I feel as if I was meant to be here; I have a sense of joy and happiness about it. I am really looking forward to the ministry in this diocese and to helping people in whatever way I can.” He said he wished to “thank all of the people who have been part of my vocational journey and made me feel welcome here.”

Henyk’s parents and aunt were scheduled to arrive in the diocese on May 23, and he planned a trip to Niagara Falls with them in the days before he assumes his first ministerial assignment as a newly-ordained priest. Thinking about the trip to Niagara Falls brought another smile to Henyk’s face. “People come from overseas and tell me they want to see Niagara Falls, New York City and also the Grand Canyon,” he laughed. “Nobody has any idea of just how big this country is and how far apart things are until they get here.”

 

Friday, May 30, 2008
Ursuline Sisters to install new leadership team June 1

The Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown have announced the installation of their newly-elected leadership team. Taking office for a six-year term beginning June 1 are Sister Nancy Dawson, General Superior; and Sisters Mary McCormick, Charlotte Italiano, Norma Raupple and Mary Alyce Koval, members of the Council. This team replaces the previous leadership team which included Sister Regina Rogers, General Superior; and Council members Sisters Mary Alyce Koval, Mary McCormick, Darla Vogelsang, and Therese Ann Rich.

Installation will be part of the Eucharistic Liturgy at the Ursuline Motherhouse in Canfield June 1. Msgr. John Zuraw, executive director of Clergy and Religious Services for the Diocese of Youngstown and administrator of Youngstown Immaculate Conception Parish, will preside.

The new leadership team is charged with implementing the directional statement approved by the Chapter of the Ursuline Sisters, which was held in January 2008. The Chapter, an elected assembly of vowed members of the Community, is the highest governing body of the assembly when it is in session. The purpose of the Chapter is to promote the life and growth of the institute. The directional statement of the Ursuline Sisters states: “We are vowed women committed to re-vitalizing Ursuline Religious Life for the 21st century. We reaffirm our life-long commitment to mission. Our spiritual life is rooted in the spirituality of St. Angela Merici, which is centered on the person of Christ and his gospel.”

Sister Nancy Dawson was born in Youngstown, the daughter of the late Francis and Hannah Dawson. She entered the Ursuline Sisters in 1958 from Immaculate Conception Parish. Her previous ministries include teaching at Boardman St. Charles School and at Ursuline and Cardinal Mooney high schools and serving as principal of St. Charles. She also served in the diocesan Communications Department, 1974-1978, and in parish ministry at New Middletown St. Paul. Sister Nancy has served two previous terms as General Superior, 1984-1990 and 1996-2002, as well as a term on the Council, 1980-1984. Most recently she has served as the director of the Ursuline Center. Since 2002 she has served as an adjunct instructor in the Religious Studies Department at Youngstown State University. In 1999, Sister Nancy was honored as the Distinguished Alumna of the Year by Ursuline High School.

Sister Mary McCormick, born in Colorado, was raised in Youngstown, the daughter of the late John McCormick and Martina McCormick of Boardman. She entered the Ursuline Sisters in 1975 from St. Joseph Parish in Austintown. Her previous ministries include teaching at Youngstown Ursuline High School and Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas High School; serving as School Consultant for Religious Education for the diocese; serving in pastoral ministry at Conneaut St. Mary Parish; and serving as Director of Vocations and Formation for the Ursuline Sisters. She is currently an Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at St. Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology for the Diocese of Cleveland.

Sister Charlotte Italiano is a Youngstown native, the daughter of the late Pasquale and Clara Italiano. She entered the Ursuline Sisters in 1955 from St. Patrick Parish, Youngstown. Sister Charlotte has spent most of her ministry in elementary administration at Youngstown St. Patrick, Poland Holy Family and Youngstown Immaculate Conception schools. In 2006, she was appointed the director of the Ursuline Preschool and Kindergarten in Canfield. In 2005 Sister Charlotte was honored with the Lifetime Educational Service Award by the Beeghly College of Education at Youngstown State University for her outstanding contribution to education. In addition to her many years of ministry in Catholic School education, Sister Charlotte served two terms on the leadership team of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, 1990-1996 and 1996-2002.

Sister Norma Raupple is a Youngstown native, the daughter of the late Dr. M. Carl Raupple and Clarita Raupple of Poland. She entered the Ursuline Sisters in 1964 from Boardman St. Charles Parish. Her previous ministries include teaching at Struthers St. Nicholas and Girard St. Rose schools, and at Youngstown Cardinal Mooney High School; and working in parish ministry at Vienna St. Vincent de Paul, Columbiana St. Jude and Youngstown Immaculate Conception parishes. For 10 years, Sister Norma worked in Brownsville, Texas, in the Ursuline Mission there. She has also served the Ursuline Sisters as Director of Vocations and Formation. She currently ministers at Beatitude House in Youngstown as Coordinator of Hispanic Outreach.

Sister Mary Alyce Koval is a Youngstown native, the daughter of the late John and Margaret Koval. She entered the Ursuline Sisters in 1965 from Youngstown SS. Peter & Paul Parish. Her previous ministries include teaching at Struthers St. Nicholas, Girard St. Rose and Boardman St. Luke schools. She has served as principal at Austintown St. Joseph and Girard St. Rose schools, and is currently principal of Boardman St. Charles School. She has also served the Ursuline Sisters as Director of Formation. Sister Mary Alyce is also a member of the Gamma Epsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma.

Sister Nancy Dawson said: “I am grateful for the leadership of Sister Regina and her team over the last six years and I am looking forward to collaborating with the entire community in implementing our new directional statement. I believe that Ursuline Religious life is a meaningful way to spend a life. We are committed to revitalizing our life and our mission in the greater Youngstown area.”

 

Friday, May 30, 2008
Eleven Sisters of the Humility of Mary celebrate jubilees

Ten Sisters of the Humility of Mary will celebrate their golden anniversaries and one her silver anniversary in religious life May 17, with a Liturgy of Thanksgiving in Magnificat Chapel at Villa Maria Community Center, Villa Maria, Pa.

The jubilarians’ families and friends will join with Sisters and Associates as they honor the jubilarians for their 50 and 25 years of commitment to religious life. The golden jubilarians are Sister Joanne Bormet, Sister Margaret Cessna, Sister Rosemary Hammer, Sister Rose Huber, Sister Kathleen Lackamp, Sister Jane McDowell, Sister Barbara Noble, Sister Marilyn Ruflin, Sister Madeline Shemo and Sister Marie Veres. The silver jubilarian is Sister Kathleen Limber.

Father Bradford Helman, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Canton, will be the celebrant for the Mass.

Sister Joanne Bormet is technical assistant at Villa Montessori Center, Cleveland. She has been a teacher in the Cleveland and Youngstown dioceses, including at Ashtabula St. Joseph School, Austintown Immaculate Heart of Mary, East Liverpool St. Aloysius, and Kent St. Patrick.

Sister Joanne received her B.S.Ed. from St. John College, Cleveland, and her M. Ed. from Kent State University, Kent. Sister Joanne, who entered religious life from St. Joseph Parish, Randolph, is the daughter of the late Joseph and Katherine (Brown) Bormet and is a graduate of Notre Dame Academy, Cleveland.

Sister Margaret Cessna, formerly Sister Mary Philip, is a writer. She has ministered as a teacher in the Cleveland and Youngstown dioceses, including at Central Catholic High School, Canton and was founder and executive director of Heartbeats, Cleveland.

Sister Margaret, a graduate of Ursuline High School, Youngstown, earned her B.A. from Ursuline College, Cleveland, and her M.A. in Religious Education from the University of Detroit. She is the daughter of the late Robert and Mary (Suddes) Cessna and entered the HM Congregation from St. Edward Parish, Youngstown.

Sister Rosemary Hammer, formerly Sister Mary Cyril, is chief financial officer for Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center, Villa Maria, Pa. She has served as a teacher, principal, and administrator in the Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Youngstown dioceses, including at Villa Maria High School and Villa Maria Education Center in Villa Maria, Pa., and the Assumption Village, North Lima.

Sister Rosemary graduated from Villa Maria High School and received her B.A. from Ursuline College, Cleveland, her M.A. from Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vt., and her M.B.A. from Cleveland State University. The daughter of the late Peter Gerald and Kathryn (Reed) Hammer, she entered the HM Community from St. Raphael Parish, Bay Village, Ohio.

Sister Rose Huber, formerly Notre Dame Sister Mary Donnarose (until 1970), is the pastoral associate at SS. Peter and Paul Parish and Our Lady of Hungary Parish in Youngstown and volunteers as a police chaplain for the Youngstown Police Department. She has ministered in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the dioceses of Youngstown, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Trenton, N.J. In the Youngstown Diocese, she served as a teacher, pastoral associate, and pastoral minister at Warren St. Mary, East Liverpool St. Aloysius, East Palestine Our Lady of Lourdes and Salem St. Paul Parish and School. Sister Rose was a social worker and chaplain supervisor for the State of New Jersey, Department of Corrections in Bordentown, N.J., for many years, before returning to Ohio in the fall of 2006. She also has ministered with the deaf and hearing impaired.

Sister Rose graduated from Notre Dame Academy, Cleveland, and received her B.S.Ed. and M.S.Ed. degrees from St. John College, Cleveland. She entered religious life from St. Patrick Parish, Cumberland, Md., and is the daughter of the late William and Agnes (Connelly) Huber.

Sister Kathleen Lackamp is a presenter and scheduler for Lifebanc of Cleveland and a volunteer for Heartbeats, Rocky River, Ohio. She has taught in parish schools in the Diocese of Cleveland.

Sister Kathleen received her B.S.Ed. from St. John College, Cleveland. A graduate of Notre Dame Academy, Cleveland, Sister Kathleen entered religious life from St. Jerome Parish, Cleveland. She is the daughter of the late Leo and Florence (Murphy) Lackamp.

Sister Jane McDowell, formerly Sister Mary Gael, is program director for the Center for Christian Action, Pocahontas, Virginia in the Richmond diocese. She has been a teacher and principal in the Cleveland and Youngstown dioceses including St. Patrick, Kent and St. Barbara, Massillon, where she also served as pastoral minister. In addition she served in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston as staff associate for Appalachian Ministries Educational Resource Center, Charleston, and in the Diocese of Steubenville as a staff associate for Rural Action, Athens, Ohio.

Sister Jane received her BSEd from St. John College, Cleveland; her M Ed from Xavier University, Cincinnati and her MPS [pastoral studies] from Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois. The daughter of the late Mack Levi and Helen (Nieporte) McDowell, she entered the HM Community from St. Joseph Parish, Canton and is a graduate of Central Catholic High School, Canton.

Sister Barbara Noble, formerly Sister M. Joellen, is coordinator of Patient-Family Education and Staff Educator for Humility of Mary Health Partners, Youngstown/ Warren, Ohio. She has ministered as a nurse in the Cleveland diocese at St. Joseph Hospital, Lorain and Rose-Mary Center, Euclid and in the Youngstown diocese at St. Joseph Riverside Hospital, and St. Joseph Health Center, Warren, and at St. Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown.

Sister Barbara, a graduate of Roosevelt High School, Kent, received her LPN from St. Joseph Hospital School of Practical Nursing, Lorain, Ohio; her BSN from Kent State University, Kent and her MS in Health and Human Services from Columbia Pacific University, San Rafael, California. She is the daughter of the late Joseph and Helen (Zalewski) Noble and entered the HM Community from St. Patrick Parish, Kent.

Sister Marilyn Ruflin, formerly Sister Mary Esther, is responsible for Spiritual Environment for Humility of Mary Health Partners, Youngstown and does memory care work for the HM Congregation. She has ministered in parishes in the Cleveland, Lansing, and Youngstown dioceses as a teacher, facilitator of liturgy, and pastoral minister including St. Louis, Louisville; St. Joseph, Mantua and St. Pius X, Warren. She was Director of the Office for Worship, Diocese of Youngstown and served as Director of Worship for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Adrian, Michigan. She was coordinator for comprehensive pastoral planning for the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, Villa Maria, Pennsylvania and served in HM Congregational Leadership from 1993-2001 as Coordinator of Communications and Wholistic Development and as First Assistant.

Sister Marilyn received her BSEd from St. John College, Cleveland, her BA in Art from Siena Heights College, Adrian, Michigan and advanced studies in liturgy, art and architecture. A graduate of Central Catholic High School, Canton, she entered religious life from St. Louis Parish, Louisville. Sister Marilyn is the daughter of the late Marvin and Loretta (Dwyer) Ruflin.

Sister Madeline Shemo, formerly Sister Michaelene, most recently served as Director of Development for the Sisters of the Humility of Mary. She has ministered as a teacher and in social service ministries in the Cleveland and Youngstown dioceses including Central Catholic High School, Canton. Sister Madeline served as general secretary of the HM Congregation as a member of the Leadership Team from 1985-89 and was the first director of the HM Associate Program.

Sister Madeline received both her BA from Ursuline College, Cleveland and her MA in Math from Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. A graduate of Lourdes Academy, Cleveland, she entered the HM Community from St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Cleveland. Sister Madeline is the daughter of the late Michael and Irene (Kruper) Shemo.

Sister Marie Veres, formerly Sister Mercedes, is president, principal and Montessori teacher at Villa Montessori Center, Cleveland. She has ministered as a teacher and principal in parishes in the Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Steubenville, Wheeling-Charleston and Youngstown dioceses including Mother of Sorrows, Ashtabula and St. Patrick, Hubbard. She was director of Candidates then Director of Formation for the HM Community in the 1970s.

Sister Marie received her BSEd from St. John College, Cleveland, and her M Ed from Xavier University, Cincinnati. A graduate of Buckeye High School, Medina, Ohio, she entered the HM Community from St. Francis Xavier Parish, Medina. Sister Marie is the daughter of the late John and Theresa (Sikorsky) Veres.

Sister Kathleen Limber currently serves in the ministry of emergency medical service for McDowell County, West Virginia in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. She has served in the Dioceses of Cleveland, Richmond, Wheeling-Charleston and Youngstown as a teacher, youth minister, health instructor and paramedic including Action Ambulance, Inc. of Warren, Ohio.

Sister Kathleen earned her BSEd in Phys Ed and Health from Youngstown State University, Youngstown; her AAS in Emergency Medical Technology from Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland; and her BSN and AAS in Emergency Medical Service Management from Mountain State University, Beckley, West Virginia. A graduate of John F. Kennedy High School, Warren, Sister Kathleen entered the Sisters of the Humility of Mary from St. Mary Parish, Painesville, Ohio. Prior to her entrance Sister Kathleen taught physical education and coached numerous sports at St. Mary Parish School. She was the girls’ athletic director and coach at St. Rose in Girard. Sister Kathleen is the daughter of Cecelia (Hughes) Limber of Cortland, and the late John Westley Limber.

 

Friday, May 30, 2008
What the liturgy tells us about Mary

Who is the person of Mary for you? What images do you have of Mary? How does Marian art from the centuries define Mary for you? Has your prayer, your reading, your reflection on Mary taken you to another place, another understanding of her life and her relationship with God? How does the liturgy help us to know Mary?

At the liturgy, all that is written in the Word and all that we pray in the presidential prayers and prefaces of Marian feasts has come from our understanding of the life of Mary from Scripture. She is virgin, wife, mother, companion and disciple.

Mary enters Scripture at the time of the Annunciation. She was born in Nazareth, a small Galilean town of about 1,600 people, during the reign of Herod the Great. Mary spoke Aramaic with a Galilean accent. Her family was of the peasant class. To support a family, people combined their craft with farming to make a meager living. These peasants made up 90 percent of the population and carried the burden of a triple tax: to Rome, to Herod, and to the Temple.

In appearance, Mary bore the features of Jewish and Palestinian women today with dark hair and dark eyes. At the age of 13, she was likely strong and robust to engage in daily labor at home. Consider Mary walking the hill country to Judea while pregnant, giving birth in a stable, making a four- or five-day journey by foot to Jerusalem once a year, sleeping in the open country like other pilgrims while journeying…

The culture was highly oral, since literacy among women was extremely rare. Mary listened attentively to the lessons she heard in Jewish worship. In her call to holiness, she opened her entire self to what she heard, pondered, and believed as she welcomed the word of God into her heart even before the formal “yes” of the Annunciation. In all we know and read, Mary carried within her person a deep desire to be one with God in all that she did. Her realization of God’s presence with her enabled her to be an open receptacle of God’s daily grace. This nourished her ongoing ”yes” to all that God would ask of her. As Pope Paul VI writes in his Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus, 1974,

…“she is held up as an example for the way in which in her own particular life, she fully and responsibly accepted God’s will (Luke 1:38), because she heard the word of God and acted on it and because charity and a spirit of service were the driving force of her actions. She is worthy of imitation because she was the first and most perfect of Christ’s disciples.”

Now we turn to Mary and her place in liturgy. In the Sacramentary, a collection of presidential prayers for the celebration of the Eucharist, the Church offers us several options. Solemnities, Feasts, and Memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary are celebrated throughout the liturgical year. From Votive Masses for Mary (Appendix X) and the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, selections can be made from the many resources provided.

To accompany the presidential prayers, the Lectionary, the book of Scripture Readings, contains specific readings for solemnities and feasts where several Old Testament, New Testament and Gospel readings can be chosen from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These examples offer us a deep understanding of the many stages of Mary’s life as she opened herself to God and allowed God’s plan for her to unfold. Her holiness lies in persistent, faithful listening. This took place in her as it does within us as we are faithful in celebrating and living the Word and Eucharist in our lives.

The Church also offers us many individual prefaces for the Liturgical Year. The body of the preface is a statement of a special reason for praising God, especially God’s work in creation and redemption. The prefaces used in Masses for the Blessed Virgin Mary keep our attention on special events in Mary’s life and honor her place in Salvation History.

In conclusion, when we celebrate Masses that honor Mary, we are given the opportunity to deepen our understanding and appreciation of her in the events of her life and to look to her each day as we ask her to nourish our personal “YES” to God in what God asks of us.

Humility of Mary Sister Marilyn Ruflin is a native of the Diocese of Youngstown and former director of the diocesan Office of Worship

 

Friday, May 16, 2008
Diocesan high schools to hold commencement and baccalaureate at various sites

The six high schools in the Youngstown Diocese will graduate 570 seniors May 29 - June 2 at various sites throughout the diocese

Canton Central Catholic

Central Catholic High School will graduate 130 seniors at 7 p.m. May 29 in the Canton Civic Center, with Bishop Roger W. Gries, O.S.B., Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland as speaker.

Baccalaureate will be held at 7 p.m. May 28 at St. Joan of Arc Church. Father Robert Kaylor, principal of Central Catholic, and pastors of the feeder schools will concelebrate the Mass. Father William Kraynak, pastor of Canton St. Joan of Arc Parish, will serve as homilist.

Valedictorians and salutatorians of the Class of 2008 will be announced at the school’s Awards Assembly on May 28. Currently four students are in contention for class honors: Christopher Andes, James Brenneman, Molly McNamara, and Daniel Monnot.

Christopher M. Andes is the son of Thomas and Mary Ann Andes and a member of Canal Fulton SS. Philip and James Parish. His honors and activities include: Football, Latin Club (officer), National Honor Society (Treasurer), Student Council (Fundraising Head), Drama Club, Spring Musical. Andes will attend Northwestern University with plans to major in Chemical Engineering.

James W. Brenneman is the son of Dr. James and Patricia Brenneman and a member of Canton St. Joan of Arc Parish. His honors and activities include: Bowling, Track, Hammer and Nails, Relay for Life, Boy Scouts, and National Honor Society. Brenneman will attend Ohio State University with plans to major in Mechanical Engineering.

Molly K. McNamara is the daughter of Robert and Debra McNamara and a member of Canton St. Michael Parish. Her honors and activities include: National Honor Society, Student Council (Fundraising), Vigil (school yearbook), Hammer &Nails, Future Educators, OCTM Math contest top scorer in school & AP calculus. McNamara will attend Miami University – Honors Program with plans to major in Mathematics; Math Education.

Daniel P. Monnot is the son of Patrick and Peggy Monnot and a member of Canton St. Joseph Parish. His honors and activities include: National Honor Society, Cross Country, Swimming, Track, Latin Club (Senior Officer), Student Council (Senior Class President). Monnot will attend University of Notre Dame with plans to major in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

Youngstown Cardinal Mooney

Cardinal Mooney High School will graduate 145 students 2 p.m., May 31 at Stambaugh Auditorium. Speaker will be Diana Colaianni, ’65 graduate of Mooney and Nursing Director of the Mahoning County District Board of Health. Her topic will be “People, Passion and Prayer.”

The Baccalaureate Liturgy will be offered at 6:30 p.m.May 29 in Youngstown St. Columba Cathedral. Celebrant will be Bishop George V. Murry, S.J.

Four students are currently in contention for class honors: Kristie Griffith, Theresa Hanna, Nicole Martzial, and Caitlyn Suhey.

Kristie N. Griffith is the daughter of James and Jacquelyn Griffith and a member of Youngstown St. Matthias Parish. Her honors and activities include: Service Club, Student Ambassador, National Honor Society, Science Club, French Club, Pep Rally Decorating Committee, Girls’ Golf, 4 Year Letterman and Captain-Senior Year. Griffith will attend Walsh University with plans to major in Biology, Pre-Medicine.

Theresa Hanna is the daughter of Joseph and Nancy Hanna and member of Youngstown St. Maron Parish. Her honors and activities include: National Honor Society, Speech Team, School Newspaper Staff and Service Club. Hanna will attend Case-Western Reserve University with plans to major in Pre-Law.

Nicole Martzial is the daughter of Dr. Terrence and Linda Martzial III and a member of Boardman St. Charles Parish. Her honors and activities include: National Honor Society, School Newspaper Staff, Christian Service Club, Science Club, Cards for Life, Spanish Club, Outstanding Student Awards in: Honors Chemistry, Honors Algebra II & Trigonometry, Spanish I & II, YSU English Festival, Impromptu and Writing Games Awards, Volunteer At St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Medical Center, Press Day at Youngstown State University and Kent State University, Holy Cross Scholastic Achievement Award, and Boardman Civic Association Honors Award. Martzial will attend the University of Akron or Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine with plans to major in Pre-Medicine.

Caitlyn Suhey is the daughter of Dr. Brian and Liane Suhey and a member of Boardman St. Charles Parish. Her honors and activities include: Science Club, Ambassadors Club, Advanced Society of Chemists, Card Control, Spanish Club, Academic Challenge Team, National Honor Society, Executive Board Co-Chair, Mathlete, English Festival, Service Club Executive Committee, Speech and Debate Team, captain. Suhey will attend Duquesne University with plans to major in Nursing.

Ashtabula SS. John and Paul Catholic School

Saints John and Paul Catholic School will graduate 23 students at 7 p.m. May 30 in Bernard Vocca Mt. Carmel Community Center

The speak-er, Therese Chadow-ski, Lakeside High School business teacher and former Guidance Director of SS. John and Paul School, will speak on “Journey Through Life with Faith, Hope and Love.”

The Baccalaureate Liturgy will be at 10 a.m. May 30 in Ashtabula Mahoning Gymnasium.

The Valedictorian for the 2008 graduating class is Kevin Punkar.

Kevin Punkar is the son of David and Lori Punkar and a member of Ashtabula St. Joseph Parish. His honors and activities include: Cross Country, Basketball, Tennis, 11 Varsity Letters and captain of each sport, Key Club, Scholastic Bowl Team, Ashtabula County Mentorship, Youth Leadership and PSEO program, National Honor Society, Global Young Leaders Conference attendee, National Merit Scholar, and lector at his parish. Punkar will attend Ohio University as a biology major in the pre-med program.

Youngstown Ursuline

Ursuline High School will graduate 112 seniors at 10 a.m. May 31 in Stambaugh Auditorium. Scott R. Schulick,’90 alumni and vice-president Investments at Butler Wick Trust Company will be the speaker.

The Baccalaureate Liturgy will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 30. Bishop George V. Murry will preside, with pastors and associate pastors from parishes in the Ursuline District. Father Edward Noga, pastor at Youngstown St. Patrick parish and uncle to graduating senior Jacob Detec, will be homilist.

Following the Liturgy, the graduates will be guests of faculty and administration at the Senior Dinner Dance 8-11 p.m. at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Social Hall.

Jonathan Proch and Katelyn Tondo-Steele are Co-Valedictorians with Grace Sauline honored as Salutatorian for 2008.

Jonathan Proch is the son of Jeff and Margie Proch and a member of Poland Presbyterian Church. His honors and activities include: Marching and Concert Band, Stage Band, Theatre Technical Director, Speech and Debate, El Fuego (Liturgical Musician, National Honor Society (NHS). Proch will attend University of Akron Honors College and major in Electrical Engineering.

Katelyn Tondo-Steele is the daughter of Robert and Janet Tondo-Steele and a member of Girard St. Rose Parish. Her honors and activities include: Varsity Soccer, Senior Class Vice-President, NHS, Eucharistic Minister and Student Council. Tondo-Steele will attend St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana with plans to major in biology.

Grace Sauline is the daughter of Dave and Kathy Sauline and a member of Girard St. Rose Parish. Her honors and activities include: Marching and Concert Band, Track and Field, Theatre Stage Manager, El Fuego (Liturgical Choir), and NHS. Sauline will attend Case Western Reserve University with plans to major in Civil Engineering.

Warren John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy High School will graduate 82 students at noon May 31 in Packard Music Hall. The speaker will be Father Thomas McCarthy, a graduate of the Class of 1954 from St. Mary High School (predecessor to John F. Kennedy High School).

The Baccalaureate Liturgy will be offered at 6:30 p.m. May 28 in Warren Blessed Sacrament Parish with Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., as homilist and presider. The Mass will be concelebrated by several Trumbull County priests.

Co-Valedictorians for the 2008 graduating class are Nicholas Basciano, Steven Pirko, and Catherine Latell. Salutatorian will be Bradley Baker.

Nicholas Basciano is the son of Rocco and Nina Basciano and is a member of Warren St. Mary Parish. His honors and activities include: four year letter winner and Co-Captain in Golf, Relay for Life Executive Council, Mu Alpha Theta Math Club, Science Club, and Treasurer of the National Honor Society. Basciano will attend the University of Notre Dame and plans to study Environmental Sciences and include: Football, Basketball, Key Club, Science Club, Mu Alpha Theta Math Club, National Honor Society, Political History Club, National Merit Scholar Commended Student, and altar server and reader at his parish. Pirko will attend Duquesne University with plans to major in Pharmacy.

Catherine Latell is the daughter of Nora and Rick Latell and a member of Warren Blessed Sacrament Parish. Her honors and activities include: Speech and Debate Team, Choir, Cheerleading, Mu Alpha Theta Math Club, National Honor Society, Student Council and Girl Scouts. Latell will attend Denison University.

Bradley Baker is the son of John and Gail Baker and a member of Warren Blessed Sacrament Parish. His honors and activities include: Cross Country, Tennis, Speech and Debate, Mu Alpha Theta, Relay for Life and Science Club. Baker plans to attend Wake Forest University.

Louisville
St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas High School will graduate 78 seniors at 7 p.m. June 2 at Walsh University, North Canton. Baccalaureate Liturgy will be celebrated at 6 p.m. May 29 in Canton St. Peter Church. Father Thomas Dyer, president of the high school and administrator of Sebring St. Ann Parish, will celebrate the Mass with other area priests. Top Honors Student for the 2008 school year is Megan Leigh Oyster.

Megan Leigh Oyster is the daughter of Steve and Karen Oyster of Alliance and a member of Alliance St. Joseph Parish. Her honors and activities include: National Honor Society, Buckeye Girls State, Marching and Concert Bands, Bowling Team, Track Team, Drama Club and the Alliance-Marlington Girls Softball Team. Oyster will attend Kettering University with plans to major in Biochemistry.

 

Friday, May 16, 2008
Diocese accepting donations to help Myanmar cyclone victims

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Youngstown is accepting donations to assist those affected by the deadly cyclone that hit Myanmar May 3. The donations will go to Catholic Relief Services (CRS), which is supporting the emergency relief and response efforts of the Caritas Internationalis network in the most affected areas of Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis brought a deadly tidal surge across the low-lying coastal areas of the country.

The latest reports of 22,000 dead, 41,000 missing and 100,000 homeless demonstrate dire conditions in which basic food, shelter and water are urgently needed. Assessments on the level of devastation are still under way as communications remain difficult and news trickles out of the country.

Significant support is critical to ensure life-saving assistance reaches the most vulnerable people quickly, CRS officials said. The Caritas network will coordinate with local and international agencies to determine how best to provide help where it is most needed.

CRS, the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States, has supported long-term development programs and emergency relief efforts, including response to cyclones and severe natural disasters, in the Southeast Asia and Pacific region for more than 60 years. The agency provides assistance to people in more than 100 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, nationality or creed.

Donations may be sent to: Southeast Asia Natural Disaster, Catholic Charities/CRS Disasters Fund, Office of Social Action, 144 W. Wood St., Youngstown, OH 44503. For more information contact Brian Corbin, Diocesan Director of Catholic Relief Services, at 330-744-8451 ext. 320, or write to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Friday, May 02, 2008
Muslims and Christians: Overcoming a gulf too wide to straddle

At the risk of sounding self-serving, we’d like to point out our news coverage in this week’s issue (Page 11) concerning a recent talk in our diocese on the subject of “Catholicism and Islam.” We do so not because of our own efforts but rather because of the importance of what the speaker had to say.

Deacon George Dardess brought a message to the First Friday Club of Greater Youngstown that was not entirely comfortable for those present to hear. The retired English professor from Rochester, N.Y., said that Catholics need to overcome their near-total ignorance about Islam and overcome as well our nation’s widespread fears about Muslims.

Dardess then said something more challenging still: That we as Christians must actively combat pervasive stereotypes, fueled by the mainstream media, concerning both Islam and Muslims. He suggested we do so by befriending Muslims personally and by countering negative statements by parishioners, neighbors and others with solid, factual information on these topics. We can only do so by becoming informed ourselves on both subjects, he said.

This is a true challenge, for as Dardess correctly asserts, there is a pervasive fear of Muslims, and profound misunderstandings about Islam itself, prevalent in our culture. Media coverage of the 1991 Gulf War and the present war in Iraq have only reinforced the belief that the Quran allows and even promotes violence, and that millions of Muslims seek to overthrow peaceful nations and turn them into societies ruled by backward theocrats.

However, as Dardess made clear in his remarks, Christianity and Islam in fact share many common traits that we rarely if ever hear about on the networks or cable channels when these subjects are mentioned. Even a minimal effort on the part of Christians to learn more about Islam and about Muslims would soon reveal the shallowness of the general American perception concerning the Islamic world. Few among us know and understand the richness of the Muslim heritage that Dardess shared with his audience.

Yes, there are extremists among the world’s Muslims. Yes, there are groups within that faith bent upon tearing apart the fabric of western society while spreading evil, fear, destruction and dissent among peaceful peoples here and abroad. The causes for such extremism may be debated but cannot be blamed on the Quran, the speaker said. In any case, such reprehensible actions represent but a tiny fraction of the Muslim population. The great majority of Muslims here and abroad – as Dardess so eloquently made clear – seek the same peace, prosperity and hope-filled lives as the rest of us.

We salute the courage of persons like this speaker to forge bonds of friendship and understanding between Christians and Muslims. We respect the insight of like-minded people in our pews and beyond to put aside comfortable stereotypes and take the necessary – and admittedly difficult – steps to erase the ignorance and misunderstanding which currently exist at home and abroad between our two faith traditions.

As one could tell from the undercurrent in the room in which the deacon was speaking, tolerance and understanding of a worldview different in many respects from one’s own is not a position easily embraced. Such a message challenges the core of who we are as Christians. But facing that challenge must be undertaken in communities around this country, lest the gulf that exists between us now out of ignorance becomes a chasm too wide to straddle, a hope too great to grasp.

— Lou Jacquet/Editor

 

 

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