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2 Warren parishes to merge

WARREN –The Diocese of Youngstown has announced the merger of two parishes in Warren.

The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown announced in a release plans to merge St. John Paul II Parish and St. Mary Parish in Warren effective Sunday.

In a letter read at Masses on Sunday at both parishes, Bishop David Bonnar stated the parish’s offices will be located at St. Mary’s on Seneca Street NE. A name for the new parish has not been determined.

Father Frantisek Katrinak, pastor of both Warren parishes, cited financial strains at St. John Paul II as the reason for the proposed merger. Katrinak said for the past two years the parishioners have been responsive to the merger, already treating the two parishes as one unit.

Katrinak announced that parish councils for both St. John Paul II and St. Mary will be meeting Wednesday.

The groups submitted a letter with the signed petitions asking for the merger Nov. 10. Bonnar officially accepted the merger recommendation from Katrinak, and the merger went into effect on Sunday.

The release says the financial picture of St. John Paul II Parish’s expenditures was consistently exceeding its revenue. The coronavirus pandemic, an aging and largely retired parish population on fixed incomes, and other expenses were cited as reasons for the move.

The parishioners made efforts to raise money for the church, but they were not able to raise enough for a long-term solution.

St. John Paul II Parish started as a merger of three other parishes in 2011, combining St. Joseph Parish, Christ Our King Parish and St. Pius X Parish.

St. Mary Parish was established in 1835, and the current church was built in 1907.

Katrinak said the Mass schedule for the two parishes will remain the same through 2021, but Masses will be only held at St. Mary Church in 2022.

The merger comes on the same day as two Campbell Catholic churches, St. Joseph the Provider and St. Lucy, officially closed.

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