By DANNY RESTIVO
When Monsignor John A. Zuraw was ordained as a priest in 1987, Youngstown was deep into its post- industrial steel decline.
“People came to us and they didn’t know how to pay their bills,” said Monsignor Zuraw, who has spent his entire priesthood in Northeas Ohio. “I experienced the uncertainty of the area.”
He believes that time helped shaped the way he’s led his parishioners, as he gets set to mark his 25th anniversary Sunday at St. Rose Church, 48 E. Main St.
The son of a steelworker who was born and raised within the diocese, Monsignor Zuraw is familiar with the area, its history and its people.
“You know their needs, and they know who you are,” said the veteran clergyman.
After being ordained June 20, 1987, Monsignor Zuraw served in several different positions throughout the diocese, including canon lawyer.
“He is a man of vision,” said Bishop George V. Murry of the Diocese of Youngstown, who has worked with him for five years.
Bishop Murry, like Monsignor Zuraw, came from an area of industrial decline in Camden, N.J. He knows Monsignor Zuraw’s talents will benefit the church and the people. “He will continue to share his ministerial gifts,” the bishop said.
Monsignor Zuraw’s parents, Jean and John Sr., attended their son’s ordination 25 years ago, and will be present Sunday for the special ceremony.
On the day he became a priest, another pastor was celebrating his 25 years, Jean Zuraw recalled. She wondered if she would see him do the same.
“We were lucky enough to make it. He has pulled us through,” she said, while also wishing her sister and mother were alive to see the occasion.
The family will be present at St. Rose during a Mass of Thanksgiving at 11:30 a.m. The parish council is expecting 600 people to celebrate afterward at Leo’s Ristorante in Howland.