It’s been a whirlwind year impacted by a pandemic that continues to affect much of the world, but it’s also a time of joy.
Bishop Edward Malesic marked the one-year anniversary of his installation as the 12th bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland on Sept. 14. Diocesan employees celebrated at a small reception in his honor before the bishop headed to the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist to preside at the noon Mass. Watch the a recording of the livestreamed Mass here.
Father John Manning, who recently retired as the diocesan delegate for senior priests, concelebrated and Deacon Matt Lawler assisted at the liturgy.
Sept. 14 is the feast of the Exultation of the Cross, which the bishop said is a feast of hope – and the very reason he chose that date for his installation.
“People are always asking me if I like it here,” he said, adding they want him to feel welcome.
“Well, it’s worked. I’m very happy to be the bishop of Cleveland and all the counties of our diocese. This has become my home. I’m starting to take root. So yes, I’m glad to be here with all of you.”
His installation occurred in the middle of the pandemic, which continues to concern us greatly, he said, but the feast of the Exultation of the Cross is a feast about hope. “Christ suffered and died for us, but that wasn’t the end. He turned that cross into an instrument of life. The cross is the sign of God’s great love for us. It’s a sign of great hope, abundant love. He lifted his Son up on the cross so anyone who looks at it will see a sign of eternal life.”
The bishop said we find life in the cross, a sign that God blessed us to be with him forever. “He draws us to that cross. It’s like a magnet. God loves us into eternity. We’re led by that cross.”
As parish priest, he recalled seeing suffering people who often were clutching a cross – perhaps at the end of a rosary – trusting that God will get them through their suffering and that death will not have the last word. “The cross will get them through to eternal life,” he said.
Bishop Malesic mentioned the 9/11 museum in New York City, built near the site of the former World Trade Center’s twin towers that were destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack.
“One of the most moving artifacts was a cross formed from the remaining steel of one of the towers,” he said. “That Ground Zero cross stood as a symbol over the deaths of nearly 3,000 people. The terrorists wouldn’t have the last word because that cross stands triumphant. The World Trade Center cross has been called a symbol of healing.”
Bishop Malesic recalled the story of the family of a 9/11 victim who put some of the man’s artifacts on the cross.
“An observer who saw it said it was as if the cross took in the grief and loss of that family,” he said, adding the observer remarked that he never felt so close to Jesus. “On that cross hung our Savior.”
Jesus is with us in every cross we carry in this life, the bishop said. “He leads us forward and never lets us get stuck. He says, ‘Stay where you are. Follow with the cross.’ That’s why I wanted to be installed on this day.”
He said every time we look at the cross, we remember that God loved us so much that he gave his only son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish, but might have eternal life and be saved through him. “That’s the message we all need,” he added.
“May we look upon Jesus who died for us on that cross and find God’s love for us and his desire to be with us in every suffering and ever desire we have for peace and healing. The cross must always be at the center of our lives as Christians because the cross gives us hope that we move from death to life.”
At the end of Mass, he invited the congregation to venerate a relic of the true cross, which he then used to bless them.