More than 100 members of Holy Name societies from across the eight-county Catholic Diocese of Cleveland gathered on June 5 for the annual Mass at St. Columbkille Church in Parma. Bishop Edward Malesic was the principal celebrant.
It was the first weekend that many of the pandemic-era restrictions were lifted throughout the diocese. As a result, many of the worshipers opted not to wear face masks. Social distancing is no longer mandated and so the group could gather for coffee, donuts and fellowship after the liturgy.
“I’m happy to be here to celebrate this holy sacrifice of the Mass with all of you,” the bishop said. “Obviously, the mission of the Holy Name Society is very important to me.” He also thanked Father Anthony Suso, St. Columbkille pastor, for hosting the event, and priests from St. Columbkille and other parishes for concelebrating.
The bishop told the congregation “There is a power in the name of Jesus. When we call him by name, he comes to us, as a shepherd comes to its bleating sheep.” He also told them that they honor the sacred name of God and the name of Jesus. At a time when many people use the name of Jesus as a curse word, Holy Name Society members “continue to use his name as a word of blessing,” the bishop said.
He also pointed out that Holy Name members have a “great loyalty to the magisterium, to me as your bishop, and to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, as the vicar of Christ for the universal Church.” Many are “striking the shepherds of the Church, hoping that all of you will scatter,” he said, expressing his thanks to the Holy Name members for their prayers and support.
He also gave them a challenge: to continue working on their personal relationship with Jesus. “You can’t give what you don’t have. Have a relationship with Jesus, who suffered and died for us, Bishop Malesic said. He noted that when Jesus rose from the dead, he didn’t come back seeking retribution. Instead, in his Resurrection, he revealed our future – if we hold fast to him with faith. He showed us his love.
“Our God wants us to live forever, to be with him forever,” he said. Although Adam and Eve thwarted that plan, Jesus restored it by his death and Resurrection.
“At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend … and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” the bishop said.
He told those gathered that is the good news they must share. “We have a savior. His name is Jesus. But to share it, we must believe it; we must live it. Work to remain close to God so that you can share God with others. And most of all, live your faith in all you do,” he said.
If we remain close to God, the fruits of the Spirit will show in us, the bishop said: joy, kindness, gentleness, self-control and generosity. He said we will want to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and “be witnesses to Christ’s love to a world that has forgotten what true love is all about.
“Give your heart to Jesus and he will help you give your heart away to those around you,” he added. “It’s not important to be noticed by anyone except God. The message is simple: Give your heart to Jesus.”
Bishop Malesic said the Church was observing the feast day of St. Boniface on June 5, someone who gave his life away along with others for the sake of the Gospel. “May the holy name of Jesus always be honored because it is in his name that we have found our salvation.”
Those gathered recited the Holy Name Society pledge at the end of Mass.
Bishop Malesic greeted the group and spent some time socializing with them in the St. Columbkille School gym.