The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown is celebrating the episcopal ordination and installation of Bishop David Bonnar. Cleveland Bishop Edward Malesic was among those invited to the liturgy on Jan. 12 in the Cathedral of St. Columba in Youngstown.
After the new bishop’s appointment was announced on Nov. 17, 2020, Bishop Malesic issued a statement congratulating him and said, “I look forward to working together with Bishop Bonnar as a brother bishop on the Catholic Conference of Ohio. I know the wonderful people of the Mahoning Valley area will offer their prayerful support and welcome their new shepherd with warm hearts and joyous anticipation.”
Bishop Bonnar, 58, was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 23, 1988. He is the sixth bishop of Youngstown, succeeding the late Bishop George Murry, SJ who died on June 5, 2020 after a battle with leukemia.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, attendance at the ordination/installation Mass was strictly limited but the event was livestreamed by the Catholic Television Network of Youngstown on the diocesan YouTube channel, where it can be viewed.
Bishop Bonnar was ordained and installed by Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati. Several other bishops -- including the other Ohio bishops – attended the liturgy. Co-consecrators were Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik and Bishop Paul Bradley of Kalamazoo, Michigan, a former Pittsburgh auxiliary bishop.
The new bishop recalled the phone call he received on Nov. 9, 2020 from Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio, who informed him that Pope Francis had appointed him bishop of Youngstown.
“I’ll never forget the call. It moved me to tears.”
Bishop Bonnar also thanked Bishop Zubik for his support. After receiving what he called “the life-changing news” of his appointment, he said Bishop Zubik told him to “Just let the Holy Spirit take over.”
“This day, this moment is not about me; it’s about the Holy Spirit,” he said, noting the Holy Spirit calls, invites, challenges and comforts us.
“I am thrilled to be here and thrilled to be your bishop. I invite you to join me and let the Holy Spirit take over,” Bishop Bonnar said.
A Pittsburgh native, Bishop Bonnar earned a bachelor’s degree from Duquesne University and a degree in sacred theology from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
After his priestly ordination, Bishop Bonnar served as a parochial vicar, pastor and administrator of parishes in the Pittsburgh Diocese. At the time of his appointment by Pope Francis as bishop of Youngstown, he was pastor of St. Aidan Parish in Wexford, Pennsylvania. He also served as rector of St. Paul Seminary, director of pre-ordination formation, director of vocations and director of the permanent diaconate, as well as secretary for parish life and leadership and vicar of the clergy in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. For 12 years, he was chaplain of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also served as editor of The Priest magazine, a national publication for priests published by Our Sunday Visitor. In 2020, he was appointed as a member of the advisory board for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
His episcopal motto is “That all may be one.”