After the press conference introducing him as the 12th bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Bishop Edward C. Malesic spent a few minutes greeting masked diocesan employees who were in socially distanced groups. Then he went across the street to the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist where he celebrated noon Mass.
“I’m a priest at heart. Being a parish priest was all I ever wanted to do,” the bishop-designate said. “I am truly humbled and feel unworthy,” he added, referring to his new appointment from Pope Francis. He currently serves as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He noted that Cleveland has about five times as many people and priests as Greensburg, which makes the task seem a bit daunting.
“I hope the pope chose wisely,” he quipped.
In the Gospel, Bishop Malesic noted that Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
He said we come today looking for comfort from Jesus. “He does the heavy lifting for us,” the bishop said. “We do this work together.”
Each of us faces burdens in our daily lives. For some there are family issues; others may feel ostracized at work and many are fearful of the coronavirus that continues to affect our daily lives..
‘Whatever your burden is, remember we’re yoked to Jesus and just need to ask him for help,” he added.
Bishop Malesic shared the story of a boy helping his father with yard work. He said the boy was picking up rocks and his father noticed him struggling with a very big, heavy rock.
“I can’t do it,” the boy told his father as he tried to move the rock. The father asked if he had used all of his strength, and the boy said he had.
“No, you didn’t ask me for help,” the father replied.
The two of them working together were able to lift and move the rock, the bishop said, comparing that situation to us asking the Lord – through prayer – for help.
“Lord, it is you who have accomplished all we’ve ever done,” Bishop Malesic said, emphasizing the importance of recognizing God’s strength and asking for his help. He did just that by asking the congregation, “Please pray for me.”
“Thank you for welcoming me here today,” he told those gathered for Mass. “God bless you and those you love.”
Bishop Malesic will be installed at a Mass on Sept. 14 in the cathedral. Until then, Father Don Oleksiak, diocesan administrator, will continue to oversee operations in the diocese.
For more information on the bishop-designate, click here.