Change can be a difficult thing. But Sister Mary Alyce Koval finds a big change in her life right now “energizing.”
Today she begins a new ministry – new for her, and relatively new for the Diocese of Youngstown. She’s the new Parish Leader for St. Luke Church in Boardman. St. Luke’s is one of three parishes in our diocese which will now have a parish leader instead of a resident pastor.
“I am excited to start this new ministry as the parish leader at St. Luke Parish in Boardman,” she says. “St. Luke’s is a trailblazer in this new model of church leadership.”
The move by the diocese comes in an effort to offset the current lack of priests. Priests will still celebrate Masses, funerals and sacraments. Sister Mary Alyce will coordinate these services at St. Luke’s. Fr. John Keehner has been named the Canonical Pastor for St. Luke’s. He’s also the full-time pastor of St. Christine Parish in Youngstown. Frs. Zachary Coulter and Chidiebere Ogbuagu have been named as the Sacramental Ministers. Fr. Coulter also is the associate pastor of St. Christine’s. Fr. Ogbuagu will continue his full-time ministry as Chaplain of St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown.
Additionally, Sister Mary Alyce will oversee all pastoral staff and strengthen the faith community of St. Luke’s.
She’s been spending the last few weeks getting to know, and becoming reacquainted with, families at St. Luke’s. “Many of them are former students and their parents. It’s amazing how once you get to know someone, you never know where you’ll meet them again. I’ve also found I have connections with many of the parishioners through other places I’ve ministered in the area.”
Sister Mary Alyce served as the education director for Beatitude House from 2009 through this past July. Beatitude House is our ministry that helps homeless women and their children overcome cyclical poverty through housing, education and other assistance.
Prior to that, Sister Mary Alyce ministered in school administration, serving as principal first at St. Joseph School in Austintown, followed by St. Rose School, Girard, then at St. Charles School, Boardman. She ministered as an educator at several elementary schools in the Diocese, including St. Luke’s.
“I have met so many people who are committed to continue the legacy that has been laid in the past,” Sister Mary Alyce states. “We as a parish are looking forward to bring about the Kingdom of God at this time and in this place.
Sister Mary Alyce also is active in the greater community, serving on the board of directors at St. Joseph the Provider School, Youngstown, as a Hospice of the Valley companion, and on the Youngstown Diocesan Pastoral Council. Previously she served on the board of directors for Park Vista of Youngstown, on St. Charles Parish Pastoral Council and in several liturgical ministries at that parish.
Sister Mary Alyce also served a member of the Ursuline Sisters’ Leadership teams from 2002-2014, and as a member of our formation team.
A graduate of Ursuline High School, Youngstown, Sister Mary Alyce earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Youngstown State University, a Master of Science in Educational Administration from the University of Dayton and a Master of Arts in Ministry from Ursuline College, Cleveland. She also holds several professional certifications.
“After entering the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown following graduation, it didn’t take long to realize that there were more doors to new adventures in my life than I could ever imagine,” Sister Mary Alyce comments. “My heart is filled with gratitude.”