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History of the Diocese

History of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio

The Diocese of Youngstown was established on May 15, 1943. Six northeastern counties in the state of Ohio were taken from the Diocese of Cleveland and were formed into the Diocese of Youngstown. It was the pastoral needs of the people in 1943 that made the new diocese necessary. There were approximately 150,000 Catholics and their numbers were growing rapidly. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

On March 28, 2007, the Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J., former bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, succeeded Bishop Tobin as the fifth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown. Bishop Murry served as Bishop until his death on June 5, 2020.

On January 12, 2021, the Most Reverend David J. Bonnar was installed as the sixth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown.