Judy has been a resident at Malachi House on Cleveland’s West Side for only a few weeks, but the time has been life-changing for her – at least spiritually.
She did not have a faith life before arriving at Malachi House, which has served those who are terminally ill without regard to gender, race, religion or national origin without cost to the resident or family since 1987. Yet, after seeing extraordinary ministers of holy Communion visiting residents who wanted to receive the Eucharist, she inquired about the sacrament. That led to a conversation with Deacon Leo Bistak -- who is assigned to nearby St. Malachi Parish and who also ministers at Malachi House -- and instruction in the Catholic faith. Last week, Judy was baptized and received her first Communion in the Malachi House chapel.
On Sept. 30, during a visit by Bishop Nelson Perez, Judy was confirmed in the chapel. She chose Therese – after St. Therese of Lisieux, the little flower -- as her confirmation name. Jena Olsen, Malachi House development and event coordinator, was her sponsor. Olsen explained that St. Therese, whose feast day is Oct. 1, is also the patroness of Malachi House.
“You don’t need to be Catholic or Christian to live at Malachi House,” Olsen explained. “We welcome all to our faith.”
As he began Mass, Bishop Perez told the volunteers, benefactors, board members and staff who filled the tiny chapel and spilled into the reception area that Sept. 30 is the memorial of St. Jerome who translated the Bible into Latin.
In his homily, the bishop talked about the word of God. “At the end of our journey, God’s word is the only one that matters. God’s word is different – it does what it says,” he said. In Genesis, God said: “Let there be light. And there was. His word is creative,” Bishop Perez said. “The presence of the Lord is venerated equally at the altar and in Scriptures," he said, noting that the word of God transcends time.
“In the beginning was the Word. All things came to be because of the Word and the Word was made flesh,” Bishop Perez said, referring to Jesus taking on the human form. In Judy’s baptism, he said the word was perfected. “You have the life of Christ within you,” he told her. He said according to the prophet Isaiah, the Word of God comes to earth and does not go back until it does what it was sent to do.
“One of my spiritual advisers described God’s word as like a love letter from God,” Bishop Perez said. “Read it often and embrace what it says.”
After Mass, the bishop posed for photos with the staff, volunteers and others – including two St. Ignatius High School students who are doing their sophomore service project at Malachi House. He also blessed a rosary that was given to Judy as a gift.
Then bishop went upstairs to visit several residents, anointing them and bringing them the Eucharist. He also chatted with staff members and volunteers before enjoying a light lunch in the dining room.
Malachi House’s Shower of Roses benefit, which is co-chaired by Dianne and Tim Needles, will take place beginning at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Crop Bistro, 2537 Lorain Ave., Cleveland. The event will honor Mark Kawada, general manager of Pier W in Lakewood, and Jan Filkill and Tom Brandt, who will be recognized as volunteers of the year.
There will be cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres, dessert and coffee bar, a silent auction, the awards presentation and gaming until 10 p.m.
For more information or tickets, call 216-621-8831, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click HERE.