Mourners honor slain parishioner

| January 28, 2010

YOUNGSTOWN – Two services were held Wednesday, one for a grieving family and another for a parish, both shocked that death and violence have struck so close to their place of worship.

"In her love, she would have forgiven the one who killed her," the Rev. Nicholas Shori of St. Paul Church in New Middletown said.

At the Mass for Angeline Fimognari at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Boardman, three generations of family members packed the pews to remember the 80-year-old who attended church twice a day and volunteered at the St. Vincent DePaul Society.

Fimognari was shot to death in the Saint Dominic parking lot Saturday after leaving the parish by herself. Police believe someone tried to rob her.

Shori told her grieving family that Fimognari's devotion to church was a challenge to other church members to help the parish of St. Dominic and the city of Youngstown.

Church ushers at an earlier service at St. Dominic were not sure how they got there or what their significance was, but three pink flowers lay at the far end of one pew.

Bishop of the Youngstown Diocese George V. Murry told worshippers that Wednesday was the feast day of Saint Angela Merici. The saint died in 1540 after founding the educational order the Ursulines. Bishop Murry tied the saint to Fimognari, who survived cancer and continued to volunteer.

Murry said Saint Angela's early life was marked by several painful deaths and it would have been easy for her to spend the rest of her life grieving, but instead she began her work.

"May they both rest safe in the arms of the Lord and may those who remain remember them and their love," Murry said.

Murry issued a statement earlier in the week, assuring parishioners that it was still safe to attend church at St. Dominic. In the statement, he encouraged people to pray for Fimognari's family and to help people in need so they do not turn to violence.

A Youngstown police cruiser sat near the doors to Saint Dominic as people filed out Wednesday. Four more city cruisers patrolled the streets close to the church.

Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, who attended the 8 a.m. service, said it was to reassure parishioners and to show that there would be increased patrols.

Williams said he was encouraged by the way the parishioners came to the service, calling it a source of personal and professional inspiration.

"They are determined not to allow this senseless act to keep them from worshipping at the parish," Williams said.

Meanwhile, tips in the investigation continue to come to the Youngstown Police. The most recent report came Tuesday, when an area resident claimed a man living on Auburndale, which is a few blocks away from the church was responsible. On Monday, another man claimed a suspect could be a man living on Philadelphia, a few streets north of where the shooting occurred.

Youngstown detectives said they are getting more tips like these as more people learn about the murder. The police follow up on their leads but, Chief of Detectives Capt. Rod Foley said Tuesday that as of yet no one lead has stood out.

Youngstown detectives are reviewing security camera footage looking for a suspect in the shooting. Witnesses reported seeing a black male in his 20s, 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, with close cut hair walking away from the church after the shooting occurred, although no one found Fimognari's body for more than one hour after the murder. The man was said to be wearing acid-wash jeans and a black shirt. Youngstown detectives have said the description is broad.

The city and the Greater Youngstown Crime Stoppers are offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of the murderer.

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Category: Church Security