our bishops

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The Most Rev. James A. McFadden

First Bishop of Youngstown
1943 — 1952

The Diocese of Youngstown was created from the Diocese of Cleveland in 1943 by Pope Pius XII. Bishop James A. McFadden (former auxiliary bishop of Cleveland) was named its first bishop and St.Columba Church on the North Side of Youngstown became the Cathedral. The new diocese comprised 3,404 square miles (8,820 km2) and featured 110 churches, three hospitals run by religious orders, 54 parochial elementary schools, one parochial junior high school, and three Catholic high schools. 

When Bishop McFadden died on November 16, 1952, Emmet M. Walsh became the new bishop. Walsh had been named Coadjutor Bishop and was formerly the Bishop of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1954, St. Columba Cathedral was destroyed by a fire. Bishop Walsh undertook the task of building a new cathedral, which was dedicated in 1958. St. Patrick Church on the south side of Youngstown became the Pro-Cathedral until the new St. Columba Cathedral was ready.


In 1962, when Pope John XXIII convened the Vatican Council II, Bishop Walsh and his Auxiliary Bishop, James W. Malone, attended the council in the Vatican Basilica of St. Peter. Upon the illness of Bishop Walsh, Bishop Malone was named Apostolic Administrator; after Bishop Walsh died on March 16, 1968, Bishop Malone was named the Bishop of Youngstown on May 2, 1968. Bishop Malone was the Bishop of Youngstown for almost thirty years; Bishop William A. Hughes (later Bishop Emeritus of Covington, Kentucky) was his auxiliary for several years.

Following Bishop Hughes' appointment to Covington, Bishop Benedict Franzetta was named the Auxiliary of Youngstown. In 1996, Bishop Malone reached the age at which bishops must turn in their resignation. Bishop Thomas J. Tobin was named his successor and was installed as Bishop of Youngstown on February 2, 1996. Bishop Franzetta, who retired on September 4, 1996, died on September 26, 2006. On March 31, 2005, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Tobin as Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island. On 30 January 2007, Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop George Murry, S.J. as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown.

 

Coat of Arms

of the Most Reverend David J. Bonnar

By heraldic tradition, the arms of the bishop of a diocese are joined with the arms of his diocese that are seen on the left side of the design. The coat of arms of the Diocese of Youngstown are composed of a green field on which is displayed a silver wavy bar (called a fess) to represent the Mahoning River that flows through the See City. Upon the wavy fess are two green arrowheads to honor the Native American peoples that first inhabited the area that is now Youngstown and a cross pommetté.

The green cross pommetté is taken from the arms of the Diocese of Cleveland from which the Diocese of Youngstown was carved in 1943. 

 

The Left Side of the shield is representative of the coat of arms of the Diocese of Youngstown.  The golden dove is in honor of the patron of its cathedral, Saint Columba, and is also taken from the arms of Pope Pius XII who created the diocese in 1943.  The golden anvil symbolizes the industrial landscape that has dominated much of northeastern Ohio.  The silver wavy bar represents the Mahoning River that flows through the city of Youngstown.  Two arrowheads recall the first residents of the area and is flanked by a cross taken from the arms of the Diocese of Cleveland from which the Youngstown Diocese was formed, symbolizing the faith passed on from one community to another and from generation to generation.

 

The Right Side is Bishop Bonnar’s personal coat of arms.  The chequy blue and silver fess appears in the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s coat of arms representing his diocese of origin.  The seven point blue star recalls the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom Bishop Bonnar entrusts his new pastoral ministry.  The pomegranate represents the motto of the Bishop that all the grains of this fruit are united in an only body, the mystical body of the Church.  The field of gold, the first among the noble metals, symbolizes the first of the virtues – the faith – which makes all believe in the salvation given by the Lord.

 

Bishop David J. Bonnar was installed as the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown on January 12, 2021. He succeeds Bishop George V. Murry, S.J. who passed away on June 5, 2020.

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