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Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic
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Bishop Malesic celebrates Mass during visit to St. John Nepomucene Parish

News of the Diocese

October 21, 2020

Bishop Malesic celebrates Mass during visit to St. John Nepomucene Parish
Bishop Malesic celebrates Mass during visit to St. John Nepomucene Parish
Bishop Malesic celebrates Mass during visit to St. John Nepomucene Parish
Bishop Malesic celebrates Mass during visit to St. John Nepomucene Parish
Bishop Malesic celebrates Mass during visit to St. John Nepomucene Parish
Bishop Malesic celebrates Mass during visit to St. John Nepomucene Parish
Bishop Malesic celebrates Mass during visit to St. John Nepomucene Parish
Bishop Malesic celebrates Mass during visit to St. John Nepomucene Parish
Bishop Malesic celebrates Mass during visit to St. John Nepomucene Parish

Parishioners at St. John Nepomucene Parish in Cleveland welcomed Bishop Edward Malesic on Oct. 18 when he celebrated Mass to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the church’s dedication. The parish was established in 1902.

“What a beautiful church,” he said, scanning the altar, stained-glass windows, paintings and statues. The bishop pointed out the parish’s strong Bohemian heritage while reflecting on his own. He told the congregation that his mother was German and his father is Slovenian. “I’m a mutt,” he quipped.

Father Robert Jasany, the pastor, was surprised to learn that the bishop read the previous week’s bulletin in order to learn more about the parish. “I’m impressed,” Bishop Malesic said, noting there are 31 active ministries at St. John Nepomucene that enable parishioners to live their faith.

The Mass was livestreamed so parishioners who were unable to attend in person could watch. “I’m with you in spirit,” the bishop told those watching the livestream.

Reflecting on the Gospel, Bishop Malesic asked who in the congregation liked to pay taxes. No hands went up.

“Caesar did because he benefited from the taxes,” he said.

The bishop said the Pharisees and Herodians, two groups that normally didn’t get along, were united in their hatred of Jesus. They set aside their differences and plotted to trap Jesus, asking him if it was proper to pay a census tax to Caesar.

But Jesus saw through their scheme and gave them an unexpected answer: He asked them to show him a coin. Although the Pharisees didn’t like paying the tax, they carried the Roman coins – which featured Caesar’s image -- and they were used to pay the tax.

“The Pharisees ended up trapping themselves,” Bishop Malesic said explaining that Jesus told them to pay Caesar what was his, and to give God what was his. Since the coin bore Caesar’s image, it was his. Our souls, which are stamped with God’s image, belong to him.

We may not like paying taxes, the bishop said, but we use roads and other things that are paid for with those taxes, so we need to pay our share – and to respect those in authority.

“We are made in the image and likeness of God. We cannot separate our faith from our life; we can’t live one without the other,” Bishop Malesic said. “We belong to God and must give ourselves back to God. Our faith must color all we do in this life.”

He said this Gospel reminds him of the story of St. Thomas More, a statesman, lawyer and chancellor of England during the reign of King Henry VIII. When the king wanted him to choose politics over religion, St. Thomas refused and chose his faith, which led to his martyrdom.

Before his death, St. Thomas said, “I die as the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

The bishop said we give our lives to God as he gave his for ours.

“When we leave this church, we will take God with us. He is with us always because we are his.”

After Mass, Father Jasany thanked the bishop for his visit and reminded the congregation that he was born in the Philadelphia area. “Quality people come from Pennsylvania,” he quipped, noting the bishop is also a Pennsylvanian, and pointing out that Jesus was born there – “in Bethlehem (Pennsylvania),” he said, drawing a laugh.

Father Jasany also bantered with the bishop about the football game that afternoon between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even though he spent the last five years as bishop of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, which is about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, Bishop Malesic said he’s a Clevelander now. “And besides, the Browns haven’t lost a game since I got here,” he added.

Unfortunately, that changed as the Browns lost 38-7 on Oct. 18.

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