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Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic
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Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms

News of the Diocese

September 30, 2021

Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms
Outdoor Mass, picnic lunch highlight bishop’s visit to Our Lady of the Elms

The nearly 300 students at Our Lady of the Elms in Akron enjoyed Mass and lunch with Bishop Edward Malesic on Sept. 29, the feast of the archangels. Joining the school community were the Dominican Sisters of Peace, whose motherhouse shares 33-acre campus in West Akron with The Elms.

The school, founded in 1923 by the Dominican Sisters, is located on the former Elm Court, previously the Arthur Marks estate. Mass was celebrated outdoors on the front lawn of the motherhouse. The school and Crown Point Ecology Center in nearby Bath are the sisters’ two local ministries.

“What a beautiful day,” Bishop Malesic said, as he scanned the students sitting on the grass. “It reminds me of my time in campus ministry.” He said the college chapel wasn’t air-conditioned and it could get very hot inside, so he often moved Mass outdoors, weather permitting. The bishop said the beauty of nature, including the many trees, adds to the celebration of the liturgy. He also thanked the sisters for their concern for the environment.

Crossword puzzles are a favorite pastime for the bishop. Recently, he said he was working on one that had this clue: “A school in Massachusetts, Our Lady of the (blank).”

“The answer was Our Lady of the Elms, a Catholic college in Chicopee, Massachusetts. When I saw on my calendar that I was coming here, to Our Lady of the Elms, I thought it was providence,” he quipped.

Reflecting on the feast of the archangels, the bishop noted that they are servants of God. Raphael is connected with healing, Michael with defeating the devil and Gabriel with announcing the good news of Jesus. They are from a realm that is unseen, but very real, he said.

Bishop Malesic said college was difficult for him, but he realized that God loves him and he decided to love him back. “Somehow, in his providence, God called me to be here,” he said, referring to his priestly vocation, his ministry as bishop and his time at The Elms.

As he renewed his relationship with Jesus, the bishop said over time, he began to love his Catholic faith “because Jesus asked me to.” He said he decided to forego his study of biology for his faith. Although both involve the study of life, theology broadens it to include angels and love, pure love, the sacrifice of self.

Reading from The Elms’ website, the bishop said, “Our Lady of the Elms, a private Catholic school rooted in the Dominican tradition, educates girls and young women to live their lives boldly with purpose, confidence, kindness, resilience, justice and faith. Elms girls become confident leaders, accomplished professionals and advocates for justice and the common good. Prepared to succeed in life they possess a spiritual, educational, global and experiential foundation shaped at the Elms.”

He said faith is what drives us. “We believe in a God who challenges and calls us to do bigger things. Don’t settle for mediocrity; let faith and trust live large in your lives. Catholic schools are ‘both and,’ not ‘either or,’” the bishop said.

“Biology will never be able to prove how much God loves us, but this school will teach you that; the angels will teach you that and faith will teach you that,” he added. “Never underestimate the power of God’s love in you to do great things.”

Bishop Malesic said God’s love was the power behind the Dominican Sisters’ decision to open The Elms and keep it running, as well as the benefactors who support it, the parents who send their children to the school, those who teach at the school and the students themselves. He talked about God’s power to do great things through “ordinary” people like St. Teresa of Calcutta, a tiny Albanian nun who cared for those on the fringes of society, religious women who founded hospitals and universities and other ministries.

God’s love comes to us in bread and wine, but people of faith see it transformed as his body and blood, the bishop said. God’s love is in the healing evidenced by the archangel Raphael, the archangel Michael’s battle against evil and in the archangel Gabriel’s announcement of the good news of Jesus’ coming.

At the end of Mass, students presented the bishop with an Elms gift bag containing a T-shirt and other items. He admired the white drawing of a panther on the black shirt.

“It’s great to be with all of you in black and white,” he quipped, referencing his priestly garb and the black and white shirts worn by the students. He told them his high school mascot was a panther and the school colors were black and white, so he felt at home at The Elms.

The faculty and staff also got a nod from the bishop, who thanked them for their perseverance, creativity and hard work to continue educating the student throughout the difficult days of the pandemic.

Bishop Malesic enjoyed a picnic lunch outdoors with some of the students after Mass.

Deborah Farquhar Jones, the school president, said The Elms if the only faith-based, all-girls school in the diocese. Pre-school and kindergarten are coed, while the rest of the student body is all girls.

For more information on Our Lady of the Elms, click here.

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