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our staff


Very Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Siffrin

Rector, Saint Columba Cathedral


Monsignor Robert Siffrin was born and raised in Massillon, Ohio; he attended and graduated from Central High School in 1971.  He attended St. Gregory College Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio.  There he majored in Philosophy and received a BA in Liberal Arts in 1975.

Graduate studies at Mt. St. Mary Seminary began in 1975.  He received an MA in Sacred Scripture Studies.  During the years of Theology, he tutored and taught part-time at St. Rita School for the Deaf.  He was ordained a priest on June 23, 1979, in Youngstown, by Bishop James W. Malone.  His first assignment was at Ursuline High School.  He was then appointed associate principal at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren.  For many years he has served as chaplain for the hearing impaired.

He served the Diocese of Youngstown in a number of capacities: as the Director of Planning for the Diocese of Youngstown, and then Chancellor/Vicar for Clergy.  In 1996, Bishop Tobin appointed him to his present position of Vicar General/Moderator of the Curia.  He is also pastor of St. Edward Church on the Northside. 

He is also involved in numerous Church and civic organizations: a past president of Youngstown Rotary served on the Youngstown Symphony Board and is one of the Youngstown Police Chaplains.


Fr. Matthew Zwilling

Vice Rector, Saint Columba Cathedral

Fr. Matthew Zwilling was ordained on August 8, 2020 after a two month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic. Raised in Diamond, Ohio, Fr. Zwilling attended Southeast Local Schools, Franciscan University of Steubenville, and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati. He began his priesthood as associate pastor of St. Paul Parish, North Canton, followed by an assignment as associate pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Ashtabula.

In addition to serving as vice-rector of the Cathedral, Fr. Zwilling is associate pastor of St. Edward Parish in Youngstown, administrator of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in Campbell, and pursuing an online degree in Church Management through Villanova University. He enjoys choral singing, cooking, Nintendo games, and disc golf. His favorite saint is St. Louis de Montfort.


Ralph Holtzhauser

Music Director


As Cathedral Musician, Mr. Holtzhauser will serve as the principal musician, organist, and choir director for cathedral and diocesan liturgies. Additionally, in an expansion of the position, Mr. Holtzhauser will serve as Diocesan Director of Music, providing guidance and support for liturgical music throughout the diocese. This includes formation and training programs for parish musicians, assistance to pastors in recruitment and hiring of musicians, and acting as a resource for pastors and parish musicians on issues related to liturgical music and the development of parish music programs. The Diocesan Director of Music serves within the Office of Worship and as an ex officio member of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission and as a member of the music subcommittee.

Ralph Holtzhauser grew up in Rocky River, Ohio, and has been a liturgical musician from a young age. Having started playing the piano at the age of two, Holtzhauser was accompanying the entire Mass on organ beginning in the second grade and had served three parishes by the end of high school. Mr. Holzhauser is a 2016 graduate of Baldwin Wallace University, with majors in organ performance and composition, and is currently completing his master’s degree in organ performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Holtzhauser has served as a liturgical musician for 21 years at parishes in the Diocese of Cleveland, most recently as Director of Music at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Chagrin Falls. His parish music ministry has included service as a music teacher in Catholic schools, with success in growing choir participation and in facilitating his choir’s participation in outside events, award competitions, and The Christmas Carol at Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. Since 2020, Mr. Holtzhauser has served on the Board of the Cleveland Chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, as Parochial School Liaison.


Sr. Martha Reed

Director of Religious Education


Sr. Martha is an Ursuline Sister serving at the Cathedral of Saint Columba as Pastoral Minister/Director of Religious Education. She has been an active member of the parish since 1999. After teaching special education for 27 years, Sister Martha joined the staff here at the Cathedral in September 2017.


Besides providing outreach to the poor and the homebound, Sr. Martha coordinates the altar servers, ushers, children’s liturgy of the word leaders, and catechist for religious education classes. Sister Martha also prepares youth and families for the reception of the sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation. 




Carol Palermo


Graduated from Ursuline High School in 1975.  A Member of Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Boardman.  Carol started working for the Diocese of Youngstown in 1976 at the Central Purchasing Office until its closing in 1995.  She Became secretary/bookkeeper at Saint Nicholas Parish in Struthers in 1995 until joining the staff at the Cathedral of Saint Columba in 2009.




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