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YOUNGSTOWN – Bishop David Bonnar has appointed Reverend Shawn Conoboy as Director of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Diocese of Youngstown, effective immediately.
Conoboy will remain pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Aurora, where he has served since 2019.
In December 2021, Conoboy was awarded a doctorate. in Systematic Theology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Previously, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology, equivalent to a master’s degree in theology, from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and a specialized license in sacred theology in spiritual theology from the Teresianum, Pontifical Institute of Spirituality.
Conoboy was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Youngstown in 2006 and has been a member of ecumenical and interfaith clergy associations through his various assignments as a priest.
Prior to being named parish priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, he previously served at St. Charles Parish in Boardman (as Parish Vicar), Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in Campbell (as Parish Vicar, then as pastor), at Holy Family Parish in Brewster and Navarre (as sacramental minister), and at SS. Mary and Joseph Parish in Newton Falls (as administrator).
Since 2007, Conoboy has been a member of the Youngstown-Warren Chapter of the Society of St. John Chrysostom, an ecumenical association of clergy and laity organized to promote an understanding of Eastern Christianity. Since 2008, he has served Hartville Migrant Ministry’s interfaith efforts, including celebrating Mass in Spanish.
Conoboy succeeds Reverend Joseph Witmer, who has served as ecumenical officer for the Diocese of Youngstown since 1971, except for eight years when he served on the national ecumenical office for the U.S. bishops, and Reverend George Balasko, who served as the Interreligious officer of the diocese and recognized locally and nationally for Jewish-Christian dialogue.
“Thanks to more than half a century of commitment from Father Joseph Witmer and Father George Balasko, the Diocese of Youngstown has been a leader in ecumenical and interfaith relations efforts. There is a solid foundation in place for Father Conoboy to maintain the tradition as a pastor, teacher and theologian. I am grateful for the accomplishments of Father Witmer and Father Balasko and excited for the zeal and opportunity that Father Conoboy brings to this endeavour,” said Bonnar.
Conoboy said: “Divisions among Christians and within the human family are a wound that must be healed. In this position, I am happy to join in the efforts of the Church to help heal this wound.