Parishes throughout the six-county Diocese of Youngstown will celebrate Christmas Masses today and Saturday with Bishop David Bonnar encouraging people who attend to be safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Diocese’s pandemic worship guidelines, updated in August, remain in effect. These guidelines encourage all vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear face coverings.
Bonnar will celebrate midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at St. Columba Cathedral. It will be his first midnight Mass as bishop of Youngstown.
Bonnar also will celebrate a Christmas Eve Mass with parishioners of St. Patrick Parish in Hubbard, as the parish continues to recover from a January fire.
During the recovery, the community continues to celebrate Mass at the parish center, while the 4 p.m. Mass today will be celebrated at the Hubbard High School auditorium.
Additionally, Blessed Sacrament Parish in Warren, whose parishioners are attending neighboring churches after a smaller fire impacted its church earlier this month, will have some Christmas Masses in its gymnasium.
Bonnar said in light of the current state of the pandemic, “We all want to celebrate the joy of Christmas. At the same time, we need to be prudent and keep each other safe by wearing face coverings, staying home when sick and doing everything we can to care for one another.”
Bonnar said since the beginning of the pandemic, the Diocese’s pandemic policies have been developed in collaboration with the other Catholic dioceses in Ohio and in conjunction with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state, and local public health directives and guidelines.
In his Christmas message to the faithful, Bonnar writes: “As I celebrate my first Christmas with you as bishop of Youngstown, please know how grateful I am for the light and gift that you all are to this local church and to me. I wish you many blessings and lots of light. Together as we continue our journey let us resolve to testify to the light and never stop praying ‘That All May Be One.’ Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!”
Midnight Mass from St. Columba Cathedral with Bonnar, along with his full Christmas message and additional diocesan Christmas programming produced by the Catholic Television Network of Youngstown and the Diocese’s social media office, can be accessed at www.doy.org/Christmas2021.