Letter to the Faithful: World Marriage Day

Parishes in the Diocese of Youngstown will read this letter at all Masses and/or print a copy in bulletins for World Marriage Day celebrated on February 11/12, 2023.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the summer of 2015, Pope Francis announced a reform for couples who are married outside of the Catholic Church to engage in the process of having their marriages validated (recognized) in the Church. The Holy Father wrote…

The zeal to reform has been fueled by the enormous number of Faithful who are often separated from the proper discipline of the Church. Charity and mercy require that the Church, as a mother, to make herself closer to her children who consider themselves separated.

I invite those who have been married civilly, but not in the Church, or those of you who are cohabitating with the intention of marriage, to consider having your marriage recognized and blessed before the Church. If you are currently living in a union not blessed by the Church, please see today’s bulletin for more information on how to begin the validation process. In light of the annulment process reform that has taken place at the directive of the Holy Father, I encourage you to meet with your parish priest, deacon, or parish leader to initiate the validation process.

God’s love, mercy and forgiveness are always present when we call upon Him. It is my hope that Catholics separated from the Church because of their marital status will know that the Church, in her love and mercy, is inviting you back to our mutual home.

Yours in Christ,

Most Reverend David J. Bonnar

Bishop of Youngstown

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Picture of Bishop David J. Bonnar

Bishop David J. Bonnar

Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Most Reverend David J. Bonnar was installed as the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown on January 12, 2021. He received a bachelor degree in Social Communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and studied at the Pontifical North American College in Rome receiving a Bachelor in Sacred Theology (STB) in 1987 from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. As a priest in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop Bonnar served as parochial vicar at Saint Vitus Parish, New Castle; Saint Rosalia Parish, Greenfield; and Saint Thomas More Parish, Bethel Park. He served as chaplain at Central Catholic High School and as Director of Vocations, Director of the Pre-Ordination program, Director of the Permanent Diaconate program and Rector of Saint Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh. In 2009, Bishop Bonnar was appointed pastor of Saint Bernard Parish, Mt. Lebanon and from 2018 also served as administrator of Our Lady of Grace Parish, Scott Township. In 2020, he was named pastor of Saint Aidan Parish, Wexford. On November 17, 2020, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed him the sixth Bishop of Youngstown. In addition to his ministerial assignments, Bishop Bonnar has also served on the Diocese of Pittsburgh Post-Ordination Board, Clergy Personnel Board, Seminary Admissions Board, Chair of the Permanent Diaconate Admissions Board, Chair of the Priestly Formation Board, and Chair of the Priesthood Candidate Admission Board. Since 2014, Bishop Bonnar has been the editor of The Priest magazine and in 2020 was appointed a member of the National Advisory Board for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. For 12 years Bishop Bonnar was also chaplain to the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers professional football team.
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