WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Sunday was a homecoming for one of the Valley’s priests. Father Christopher Cicero was installed into two parishes in Warren, one of which he grew up in.
“I feel a sense of being at home, which is very special to me,” Father Cicero said.
For some people, church is just a part of their Sunday routine, but for Father Cicero it meant he was coming home.
When asked if he ever thought this would happen, he said, “I always just said no, I don’t think it will. It’s very rare for a priest to go back to his hometown, let alone his home parish, and so I’m surprised that I am here, but I’m also really delighted because it’s a beautiful opportunity.”
Father Cicero will celebrate mass at both Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and Blessed Sacrament Church.
It was made official Sunday by Bishop David Bonnar who carried out the orders that were made by the late Bishop George Murry back in May 2020.
“He was truly a good shepherd. A man who really ministered with a shepherd’s heart. There’s been some real moments of continuity where we just continue to follow his lead, so to speak,” Bishop Bonnar said.
But taking on a new role can be a challenge. Father Cicero says he wants to get back out in the community and do good works.
“Catholic and not catholic alike and be a place that brings people together,” he said.
When asked what advice he’d give to a priest going to a new parish, Bishop Bonnar said to trust in God and be yourself.
“I think it’s important for every man to trust in their goodness, be open to God and certainly be a man of prayer,” he said.
After mass was over, people got to come up and meet the bishop and their new priest, welcoming him after almost two years without a resident priest at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.
“And I think there’s a real sense of gratitude and relief that there’s a priest back in the parish,” Father Cicero said. “And it helps them to know that the future of the parish is secure.”