A diocese press release cited ill health.

Bishop George V. Murry is stepping down as leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown.

Murry submitted his resignation letter to Pope Francis on Tuesday for health reasons, said Monsignor John Zuraw, diocesan chancellor.

The bishop is being treated for leukemia for the third time since 2018, according to the diocese.

Murry, who is in his early 70s, has led the Youngstown diocese since 2007. He is the first African American and first minority bishop to hold the post.

The diocese comprises 139,000 Catholics in Stark, Portage, Mahoning, Columbiana, Trumbull and Ashtabula counties.

Murry will remain the bishop of the diocese until Pope Francis formally accepts the resignation, a process that can take several weeks, Zuraw said.

Murry is still involved in the day-to-day operations of the diocese, but "he realizes that the amount of work that is necessary to effectively lead a diocese, he does not have that energy level," Zuraw said.

Doctors first diagnosed Murry with acute leukemia in 2018, and the cancer went into remission after chemotherapy at the Cleveland Clinic. Murry had another round of treatment last summer.

The diocese announced in late April that the leukemia had returned and Murray has been getting outpatient treatment at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown.

During his tenure, Murry reconfigured parishes in response to the declining number of priests and regionalized Catholic schools.

In 2018, he released a list of priests who, according to the diocese, had been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor, and he apologized "that the Church has failed to act aggressively to eliminate this evil."

Most recently, Murry has navigated the diocese through the coronavirus pandemic.

After Pope Francis accepts Murry’s resignation, an administrator will oversee the diocese until a new bishop is installed, a process that can take a year or more, Zuraw said.

The Diocese of Cleveland has been going through that process since Pope Francis named Bishop Nelson Perez the new Archbishop of Philadelphia in January.

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