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Friends, family celebrate bishop

YOUNGSTOWN — Many who knew the Most Rev. David Bonnar for his years of dedicated service with the Diocese of Pittsburgh joined him Tuesday to celebrate his ordination as sixth bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown.

While some people gathered outside St. Columba Cathedral to welcome Bonnar as their new bishop, others by invitation were seated inside to watch the man many have known for years begin a new chapter in his life.

Bonnar, 58, had served many parishes during his time with the Diocese of Pittsburgh and those who were members of those churches say he will bring enthusiasm and passion to his new job.

Paul and Catherine Azzola of Delaware, Ohio, said Bonnar married them four years ago when he was pastor at St. Bernard’s in Pittsburgh.

“We were excited about this and drove from Columbus. We did not want to miss this opportunity to be here. My wife was the business manager at St. Bernard’s Parish and knew him from there. I met her and we got married by him at St. Bernard’s. We have had always had a good relationship with him,” Paul Azzola said.

He said Bonnar is upbeat and personable and will be liked here in Youngstown.

Catherine Azzola said, “I am thrilled to be here for this. I worked with Bishop Bonnar when he was Father Dave in Pittsburgh. I am so proud of him. He is so positive, warm and loving. Everyone who knows him loves him.”

Letitia Bridge of Pittsburgh, who knew Bonnar there, said the new bishop will bring “a lot of enthusiasm and passion” to the position.

“That is absolutely what he will bring to the Diocese of Youngstown,” she said.

Bridge was among the lectors during the ordination.

Kathy and Rudy Berty of Pittsburgh said they have followed Bonnar’s career.

“We are so thrilled he will be here. We have been friends with him for many years. He married both of our children and baptized our grandson. He will do a great job here,” Kathy Berty said.

Anthony and Mary Pat of Pittsburgh gathered outside the cathedral to have their photos taken with the new bishop.

“It was an honor to be here for him. He is a wonderful person,” said Anthony Pat.

“He will be a wonderful shepherd for all those of the Youngstown Diocese,” said Mary Pat.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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