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Ex-chaplain to Pittsburgh Steelers named bishop of Youngstown, Ohio

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by Hannah Brockhaus

Vatican City, Nov 17, 2020 / 06:00 am MT (CNA).- Pope Francis Tuesday named Pittsburgh priest Fr. David J. Bonnar the next bishop of Youngstown, Ohio.

Bonnar, 58, succeeds Bishop George Murry, S.J., who died June 5 from acute leukemia.

The bishop-elect is pastor of St. Aidan Parish in Wexford, Pennsylvania. For 12 years he was chaplain of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since 2016, the bishop-elect has been director of The Priest Magazine, published by Our Sunday Visitor.

According to the Diocese of Youngstown, Bonnar will be ordained a bishop on Jan. 12, 2021, at the Cathedral of St. Columba.

The bishop-elect will take part in a livestreamed press conference from the cathedral’s parish hall Nov. 17. Afterward, he will offer Mass in the cathedral.

“I am overwhelmed by the trust and confidence the Holy Father has placed in me in appointing me the Bishop of Youngstown,” Bonnar said in a Nov. 17 press release from the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Bonnar’s bishop, David Zubik, said “there is no question in my mind that Bishop-elect Bonnar is most qualified to take on his new responsibilities. For the vast majority of his 32 years as a priest, he has served in parish ministry. The faithful of Youngstown can look forward to very strong pastoral leadership on the part of their new bishop.”

Bonnar was born in Pittsburgh in 1962, the fourth of five children. His father was a butcher and his mother a homemaker. They are now deceased.

After attending Catholic grade school and high school, he graduated from Duquesne University with a bachelor’s degree in social communications.

As a seminarian, he studied in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1988, serving in several different parishes and as a part-time high school chaplain.

Bonnar was the vocations director and rector of St. Paul Seminary from 1997 to 2002. He was episcopal vicar for clergy from 2007 to 2009.

The Diocese of Youngstown is in northeast Ohio and serves nearly 200,000 Catholics.

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