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Guided by Faith: Diocese of Youngstown Deacon William Wainio

Deacon William Wainio says he felt a special calling to a life in the church at a young age. After a seven-year journey as a seminarian, and earning two master degrees, he will be ordained a priest on June 1st by Bishop David J. Bonnar at Saint Columba Cathedral. Our Dennis Biviano has more about Deacon Wainio’s leadership and hopes for the future. 

Deacon William Wainio’s journey of faith began at the one-time Immaculate Conception Church on Youngstown’s east side, and continued on at St. Luke Parish in Boardman, where he says his vocation to the priesthood was truly nurtured. 

“I knew I wanted to be a priest from the time I was in Kindergarten. And they made sure to be very nurturing of that idea,” says Deacon Wainio. 

He attended Saint Luke School in Boardman, then Ursuline High School in Youngstown before earning a bachelor’s degree at John Carroll University. His home parish is Saint Angela Merici in Youngstown.

Deacon Wainio is completing his studies at St. Mary Seminary in Wickliffe, and has spent recent years serving at St. John the Baptist and St. Peter Catholic Parish in Canton. 

Similar to how he helped people in the community working as a 9-1-1 dispatcher for Boardman and Beaver Townships, Deacon Wainio hopes to soon share a message of a different kind. 

“Only a priest could bring the people of God the Eucharist. That’s how I want to help people, by bringing the sacraments of the church to them. I’m very very excited to do that,” says Deacon Wainio. 

Father Chad Johnson, the Diocesan Director of Vocations, says at the end of the day, Deacon Wainio has a heart for the church and a personality you look for when recruiting new priests. 

“Not only is it a reverence in the celebration of the sacraments, but it’s a personality that is outgoing, that is pastoral, that is a desire to serve the people that are around him,” says Father Johnson. 

Deacon Wainio contributes to “Vocations for the Youngstown Diocese” Facebook page and he sees the value in using the platform as a tool for community outreach and inspiration. 

“You know, maybe we’re not the main inspiration to why somebody thinks–maybe I want to be a priest, or maybe I want to be a religious sister, but even our story, or our video, or our podcast, or our post, whatever it may be, it gets them thinking. Maybe I should go back to church, maybe I should take a little bit more time in prayer,” says Deacon Wainio. 

Father Johnson echoes that sentiment about the importance of social media for new generations of Catholics. 

“We have to be on social media the same way that Paul traveled to Athens and Corinth and everywhere else. If we are to follow in the apostolic mission that we’ve been entrusted to, by our baptism, the church needs to be where people are at,” says Father Johnson. 

Deacon Wainio has also been instrumental in the Bishop’s annual Golf Classic, which helps offset the cost of seminarian tuition among other things. 

“People across the diocese have actually shaken the hand of a seminarian and said, I’m praying for you, it’s nice to meet you, what’s life like as a seminarian? So not even thinking, I said wow, that sounds like it would work, a golf outing, raise some funds, but you can also be golfing together,” says Deacon Wainio. 

On June 1st, Wainio and his classmate Deacon Kevin Bertleff will be ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Youngstown. And while he isn’t nervous about his future assignment, he offers this advice to his fellow seminarians who hope to follow his journey. 

“Stand at the door for five or 10 minutes. Greet people and be open, smile and be very welcoming. I think just being available to the people of God is the best advice that I would give,” says Deacon Wainio. 

If you have experienced God’s call to the church, contact Vocations at the Diocese of Youngstown, and follow @doyvocations on Facebook and Instagram. 

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Dennis Biviano

Dennis Biviano serves as the Public Relations and Media Specialist for the Diocese of Youngstown as the diocese’s chief point of contact with journalists. Biviano brings 20 years of TV News reporting experience to the Communications Department. He is a graduate of John F. Kennedy Catholic School in Warren and Kent State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism. He has worked as a Multimedia Journalist in the Mahoning Valley for WKBN & WYTV, as well as Charter Communications (Spectrum News 1) for seven years. Biviano is an active member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Niles with his family.
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