Youngstown priest counts blessings

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – It’s been a year now since Father Stephen Popovich, one of the Youngstown area’s most popular Catholic priests, was paralyzed in a car accident.  Since then we’ve heard little from Father Popovich, until this past week.

On the front page of the Catholic Exponent was the headline, “In Thanksgiving: Father Popovich notes blessings.”

Inside, a second headline: About what the now-paralyzed priest has to be thankful for.

Father Popovich was the well-liked pastor of New Middletown’s St. Paul Church when, on November 13th of last year, while on his way to talk with prison inmates, his car slid on an icy Struthers Road in Poland Township. Injuries sustained in the accident ended up paralyzing him.

In his Exponent article, Father Popovich said he is at a rehab facility with the Diocese, and that he has a number of health issues. He then went on to list the many things he has to be thankful for.

He said for two months after the accident he was not eating food, and after he passed a swallow test, his first meal was Rice Krispies. He felt like he was eating a buffet.

And when he progressed to a hot dog, Father Popovich states that he literally screamed, because he was so excited.

He referred to the gospel song, “So Much to Thank Him For,” and as he stated, “I really do.”

Wrote Father Popovich: “I try to focus now each day on a certain part of what I am thankful for. It brings me back to that tune in the midst of my struggles and difficulties and the illness.”

Father Popovich ended by saying he and his family are grateful for so many people in health care who have helped him every step of the way.

Check out the whole story in the most recent issue of the Catholic Exponent.

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