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Lawson appointed chancellor of Diocese of Youngstown

YOUNGSTOWN — Joan Lawson, who was named diocesan archivist for the Youngstown Catholic Diocese in March, has been promoted to chancellor and will succeed Vicar General Monsignor John Zuraw on Sept. 1.

Lawson also will continue in her role as archivist, according to Youngstown Bishop David Bonnar.

As chancellor, Lawson will be the primary record keeper for the diocese, reporting on and recording parish data and ensuring that the acts of the diocesan curia are drawn up, authenticated, arranged and safeguarded.

She also will have an active role on the administrative board, while serving as ex-officio on the Priest Personnel Board, the Diocesan Task Force, Presbyteral Council, Pastoral Council and College of Deans.

“Joan is deeply rooted in the Catholic faith. In her short time as archivist, she has begun to establish not only a strong foundation, but also protocols to ensure that our records are preserved and our story is not lost. As a woman, Joan brings a necessary voice and perspective to the workings of our local church. I know that she is a hard worker and now I look forward to her becoming a trusted adviser,” Bonnar said.

A Youngstown native, Lawson earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Youngstown State University, a Master of Arts in history and certificate in historical agency administration from Northeastern University in Boston and a second certificate in historical agency administration from the Seminar for Historical Administration in Williamsburg, Va.

After extensive professional experience in public history and administration, she later earned a Master of Religious Education degree from Loyola University of New Orleans in its extension program with the Diocese of Youngstown. She has served in professional parish ministry at St. Paul in Salem, St. Brendan in Youngstown, Immaculate Heart of Mary in Austintown and St. Michael in Canfield.

From 2018 until February of this year, Lawson served as consultant in the Diocese of Youngstown’s Office of Faith Formation and Lay Ecclesial Ministry. She has been married to Mahoning Valley Historical Society Director Bill Lawson since 2003. She has two stepchildren and recently welcomed her first grandchild.

“This is an exciting opportunity for me to serve. As chancellor, not only will I be safeguarding important documents and pieces of diocesan history so that it can be preserved, I will also have the opportunity, through my administrative work, to learn more about every parish and every aspect of our six-county diocese. I feel blessed to be able to serve the faithful of our diocese in this way,” Lawson said.

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