Now that he’s officially been introduced as the 12th bishop of Cleveland, Bishop Edward Malesic is back in Greensburg, Pennsylvania -- where he has led the diocese for five years -- as he prepares to transition to his new role.
The next several weeks will be filled with wrapping up loose ends and preparing to move the approximately 160 miles northwest from Greensburg to Cleveland.
Even though he’s excited about the opportunity to shepherd the Cleveland Diocese, Bishop Malesic said this is a bittersweet time.
“I am sad to be leaving Greensburg. It will not be an easy transition,” he said. “But I am looking forward to meeting the people here and working with the clergy. This is a vibrant Church.”
Bishops from around the country sent congratulations to Bishop Malesic after the announcement of his new position, but three messages stood out: those from Philadelphia Archbishop Nelson Perez, his Cleveland predecessor, Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik and Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer.
Bishop Malesic said he called Archbishop Perez soon after learning he would succeed him in Cleveland. They had a wonderful conversation, he said, and the archbishop told him how fortunate he was to be going to Cleveland.
“He told me, ‘I have two words: lucky you,’” Bishop Malesic recalled. The two spent some time together last weekend when Bishop Malesic traveled to Philadelphia for the July 19 Mass when the archbishop received his pallium.
The archbishop greeted him warmly and posed for a photo, sharing the encounter on Twitter tweeting, “With the new Bishop of Cleveland, Bishop Edward Malesic (@DIOCESEofCLE). So happy for Cleveland!!!”
“Bishop Malesic brings to his new diocese vast administrative expertise, a priestly heart and a deep commitment to serving the pastoral and temporal needs of the Church with zeal and energy,” Archbishop Perez said. “It has been a privilege to work with him here in Pennsylvania since my appointment as archbishop of Philadelphia in January. The Church in Ohio is receiving a true gift from Pope Francis in the person of Bishop Malesic. I know he will serve joyfully as a faithful shepherd and spiritual father.
“The people of the Diocese of Cleveland will always be near to my heart. My service as their shepherd was filled with many happy memories. I know they will embrace Bishop Malesic with the same spirt of faithfulness and warmth I experienced during my time there,” the archbishop added.
Bishop Zubik of Pittsburgh, the diocese adjacent to Greensburg, echoed the archbishop’s remarks.
“What a blessing for the Diocese of Cleveland, although a loss for the Diocese of Greensburg and Pittsburgh with our Holy Father’s appointment of Bishop Edward Malesic to Cleveland. I know Bishop Malesic to be a humble man of God who will guide Catholics closer to Jesus and help to strengthen all communities in his new assignment,” Bishop Zubik said.
“For the last five years, Bishop Malesic has been an exceptional pastor to the faithful of the Diocese of Greensburg. He has also been a very good neighbor. He and I have worked together closely and often on many issues of the Church in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Bishop Malesic has shown what it means to be a servant leader in the Diocese of Greensburg, giving wise and gentle guidance in difficult times and especially in his outreach to people devastated by opioid addiction. I will miss my friend and co-worker in the vineyard. Many will miss him in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Together with all of the faithful of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and in my own name, we offer Bishop Malesic our sincere congratulations on his appointment as the bishop of Cleveland. We pray that God will inspire him to lead his new diocese as well as he has led the Diocese of Greensburg,” he added.
A native of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area, Bishop Malesic also received a heartfelt message from the bishop there.
“I am delighted to send my prayerful congratulations to Bishop Edward C. Malesic on his appointment as bishop of Cleveland by his holiness, Pope Francis,” Bishop Gainer said. “I have known Bishop Malesic for years and have enjoyed working with him as a brother bishop, and especially in the time we both worked in tribunal ministry. Personally, I have the deepest respect and admiration for him as a priest, bishop, close collaborator and friend.”
Bishop Malesic will be installed on Sept. 14 during a Mass in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Installation details are being arranged. The Mass will be livestreamed on the diocesan website.
Until the new bishop is installed, Father Don Oleksiak will continue serving as diocesan administrator, a role he has filled since Archbishop Perez was installed in February in Philadelphia.