Phone: 216-696-6525

Toll Free: 1-800-869-6525

Address: 1404 East 9th Street, Cleveland, OH 44114

Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic

  Share this Page

Back to news list

‘You are not Without a Shepherd’ is topic of bishop’s Lenten talk

News of the Diocese

March 11, 2021

‘You are not Without a Shepherd’ is topic of bishop’s Lenten talk
‘You are not Without a Shepherd’ is topic of bishop’s Lenten talk
‘You are not Without a Shepherd’ is topic of bishop’s Lenten talk
‘You are not Without a Shepherd’ is topic of bishop’s Lenten talk
‘You are not Without a Shepherd’ is topic of bishop’s Lenten talk
‘You are not Without a Shepherd’ is topic of bishop’s Lenten talk
‘You are not Without a Shepherd’ is topic of bishop’s Lenten talk
‘You are not Without a Shepherd’ is topic of bishop’s Lenten talk
‘You are not Without a Shepherd’ is topic of bishop’s Lenten talk

A March 9 Lenten program at St. John Bosco Church in Parma Heights attracted about 150 people from the cluster parishes of St. Bridget of Kildare in Parma, Mary Queen of the Apostles in Brook Park and St. John Bosco to hear Bishop Edward Malesic speak on “You are not Without Shepherd.” Many others watched a livestream of the event, which had limited in-person capacity because of pandemic safety protocols. It was the first of three Lenten programs sponsored by the parishes.

After introductory remarks by Father Matt Byrne, St. John Bosco pastor, the bishop said how grateful he was for the invitation. “Lent is an extra special occasion as we take time from our busy schedules to stop and reflect and offer prayer together as a Church family,” he said.

Although traveling throughout the diocese to meet people at parishes and to give talks are some of his favorite things, the bishop said the pandemic has limited these opportunities. “I hope we get back to normal soon,” he said, adding that he hopes the crosses we bear – including the cross of this pandemic – “if carried with faith, allows the Lord to guide us to the Resurrection.”

He shared an anecdote about a young woman who applied to college but was concerned about a question on the application asking if she was a leader. She replied honestly, indicating she was not, and expected the worst. She was pleasantly surprised to read in her acceptance letter that the college indicated it would have many new leader, but it was accepting her “because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower.”

We all are followers of Jesus – the Good Shepherd – who gave his life that we might have eternal life, the bishop said, referencing Scripture. “If we pick up our cross and follow Jesus, our shepherd, he will lead us to better pastures,” Bishop Malesic said. “He is shepherding us – but we must follow him.”

The safety and welfare of his flock is a shepherd’s primary responsibility. A bishop is considered the shepherd of his diocese and as such, he carries a crosier – symbolic of a shepherd’s staff that is used to guide his sheep.

“Theoretically speaking, God demands that his shepherds not only search for and try to bring back the ones who have left the flock, but that they search for those who have never been in the flock and bring them in,” the bishop said, drawing an analogy to a bishop caring for those in his diocese.

“I have a lot of responsibility to bear as the vicar of Christ for this diocese,” the bishop said, “but priests and deacons also bear responsibility for the flock. They, too, could be considered shepherds. A pastor is a shepherd of souls – a person who, as Pope Francis says, ‘should have the smell of the sheep’ on them when they go to bed at night. How can any of us lead if we don’t know our flock? How can we know our flock if we don’t mingle with them?” he asked, noting the pandemic makes it more difficult to “mingle with the flock.”

There also are other who take on the role of a shepherd – guiding others on the path of the Lord – including ministry leaders, scout leaders, teachers and others responsible for the well-being of others. Parents shepherd their families through troubled times that can be filled with societal pressures and secular challenges.

When he speaks at confirmations, Bishop Malesic said he likes to remind parents that they only have a few years with their children, pointing out they should make the most of them. “Guide them, put them on the path when they stray and pray for them,” he said. The bishop also suggested using St. Joseph as a model parent, who guided with “gentle, quiet strength” as he led a pregnant Mary to Bethlehem, guided his young family to safety in Egypt, led them back to Nazareth, taught Jesus a craft and watched him grow “in wisdom and age with pride.”

Sometimes shepherds walk with their sheep and accompany them, as Jesus did. But there are times when the shepherd walks behind and pushes. Bishop Malesic said he experienced this while shepherding his flock at a parish in Pennsylvania. He loved the work but was asked by the Holy Father to give it up and become the bishop of Greensburg. He compared that call to being pushed from behind “to places I don’t always want to go.” He got another “push” last year when he was appointed bishop of Cleveland, which meant he had to leave the work he loved in Greensburg to relocate and start over.

“Each of us has a purpose in life. We don’t always know what it is at the time, but later we can say, ‘God brought me to that person to lead me.’ Or, sometimes we can say, ‘I was given to that person to help lead him or her to a better place in life.’ We can all be a shepherd to someone,” he said. The bishop also reminded those in attendance they should ask God what he wants of them. “That’ where we find happiness. We can only be good shepherds if we follow the Good Shepherd.”

We can’t be of help to others if we have nothing to give, Bishop Malesic said. “We need to take the time to put Jesus back in our heart – or to let him live in our heart. That’s where he wants to take up residence. He want to make us the temples of his Spirit.”

And Lent is the right time to refocus our attention on Jesus, he said. “It’s a time to try on holiness for a change. To forgive, love, be patient, speak the truth with charity, guide and allow ourselves to be guided.” He encouraged attendees to “slow down, listen and recognize the Good Shepherd’s voice in our life.” In addition, he suggested taking some time to “thank God for sending us adjunct shepherds along the way – moms, dads, priests and deacon – those bosses who were kind to us and maybe even a bishop or two. Jesus speaks to us in many ways. May we have the ears to hear him call each of us by name.”

The program ended with night prayer led by Father Rob Wisniewski, St. Bridget of Kildare pastor, after which attendees had an opportunity to greet the bishop as they left the church.

Subscribe! Sign up to receive news & updates.

Share This


Photo Gallery

1 of 22