YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Over the past two years, WKBN viewers have come to know Craig Ziobert through Storm Team weather forecasts.
He’s leaving the station in August for a new role – just like his current one – that will help others, but in a way that’s closer to his heart.
On a Wednesday evening surrounded by the spiritual silence of a nearly empty Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Youngstown, Ziobert announced he was changing professions.
“I’ve been accepted by the bishop to enter the seminary for the Diocese of Youngstown. It’s a long process that goes through years of schooling, but it’s on the way to the hope of one day becoming a priest,” Ziobert said.
Ziobert, 31, has spent the past two years as a WKBN meteorologist.
“It was wonderful to be a part of that staff for two years now, and so I wouldn’t really want it any other way. I’m happy I was able to do that and fulfill those life dreams and now hopefully, fulfill this one as well,” Ziobert said.
The Catholic church has always been part of Ziobert’s life. He made his first communion at Mount Carmel – and attended Ursuline High School.
For the past five years, he’s been Mount Carmel’s music director, rehearsing in the basement on most Wednesday evenings.
Ziobert said he’s been interested in the priesthood since he was a child. But the final decision was made when Bishop George Murry died. The two were close.
“You know that deep down he always that this was most likely my vocation, so he always kept reminding me to stay close to the church,” Ziobert said.
The vetting process for prospective priests is lengthy – and included three psychological evaluations.
“More or less just that you’re mentally and physically able to handle the job of a priest… you’re counseling marriage, couples, you’re dealing with families at funerals and death,” Ziobert said.
The official announcement that Ziobert was entering the priesthood came during weekend masses at Mount Carmel.
“I got standing ovations at all three masses, and it was just very humbling,” Ziobert said.
People have asked – in an inquisitive way – how would he ever want to be a priest?
“And honestly it’s just something you can’t really describe sometimes. It’s just one of those things where you know where you’re supposed to be in life,” Ziobert said.