Nearly three dozen people joined the ranks of the Diocese of Cleveland Heritage Society during a recent Mass and recognition dinner. St. Michael Parish in Independence hosted the event, which was organized by the Catholic Community Foundation.
During the Mass, celebrated by Bishop Edward Malesic, he thanked Heritage Society members for their generosity. Society members create a bequest to leave some or all of their estate to the Church. He also asked the congregation to remember and pray for the soul of the late Cleveland Bishop emeritus Anthony Pilla, who established the society.
Reflecting on the Gospel that told the apostles to pack nothing for their trip, the bishop said he doesn’t heed that advice. “I always pack too much stuff when I travel,” he quipped, wondering how Jesus would have packed and prepared for his travels.
The lesson in the Gospel is trust, the bishop said, explaining that our souls, faith and accomplishments are all we need to take for our journey. “We need to trust God and what Jesus wants to accomplish through us,” he said.
As a Church, we have the authority to proclaim the Gospel, he said. Confirmation is an initiation through which we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. “We learn that Jesus, our Lord and Savior, will provide for us for all eternity,” he added.
The world is sick, he said, because people are refusing to accept God’s love. “But we have the remedy. We’re asked to cast out evil and proclaim the Gospel. God blesses and gifts us because we have much to accomplish. And in the end, we must trust God. He will do what we cannot. He will work through us and others.”
After Mass, Rob Rogers, Catholic Community Foundation board chair, gave a brief history of the Heritage Society, which was founded in 1992 by Bishop Pilla. He said it has become a model for other dioceses.
Bishop Malesic compared the society and its mission to planting seeds in a partnership with God. In the spring, children may be gifted with seeds to plant. Those seeds eventually grow, much like the gifts given by Heritage Society members. The bishop said his 104-year-old father liked to garden and some of the things he planted will live on after he is gone as a type of legacy.
“Every gift we get is transformed by God for the greater good,” he said, using the Mass as another example. The bread and wine are Jesus’ body and blood, which he shares with us. “Give something to Jesus to work a miracle with,” he said. “Jesus is the master gardener. He asks us to plant love, hope and faith. The seeds we plant will live on. We don’t know how our legacy will affect the future, but we know it will live on.”
The bishop said he wouldn’t ask someone to do something he wouldn’t do himself, explaining he made a gift to the Church in his will. He thanked the Heritage Society members, noting many of the good works people do are behind the scenes and known only to them and God.
“Thank you to all the Heritage Society members, especially the priests for all they do for the diocese,” added Patrick Grace, executive director of the Catholic Community Foundation.
Call 216-696-6525, Ext. 8070, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for more
information on planning a legacy gift.