Eight Saint Mary Seminary students were instituted into the ministry of lector during an Oct. 22 Mass celebrated by Youngstown Bishop David Bonnar. Cleveland Bishop Edward Malesic, Father Mark Latcovich, seminary president-rector, and several seminary professors concelebrated the liturgy. The seminarians’ family, pastors and friends were invited to participate in and attend the Mass.
The seven newly instituted lectors from the Diocese of Cleveland and their parishes are Christopher Cotone, St. John Bosco, Parma Heights; Anthony Donatelli, St. Mary, Hudson; James Hawkins, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Wadsworth; Jeffrey Lindholm, St. Raphael, Bay Village; James Livingston, St. Julie Billiart, North Ridgeville; James Parisi, St. Hilary, Fairlawn; and Kyle Rosser, St. Peter, Lorain.
The eighth student, Travis Seagraves of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Warren, is from the Diocese of Youngstown, which sends its seminarians to study at Saint Mary.
Bishop Bonnar, who was installed as the sixth bishop of Youngstown in January, told those gathered for the Mass that he was a former seminary rector and this was the first time he presided at a liturgy for the institution of lector.
“I appreciate the invitation of Bishop Malesic. It’s an honor to be here,” he said.
Because of the pandemic, he was unable to go to a retreat house for a canonical retreat before his installation, so he asked bishops from his home Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for some advice. One recommended reading Pope Francis’ Joy of the Gospel and reflecting on it. Bishop Bonnar said he had six thoughts to share from reading the pope’s apostolic exhortation.
“First, the word of God always issues a summons to go forth,” he said, noting Moses, Abraham, Jeremiah and others were all commanded by God to go forth.
Second, the bishop said the word of God “engenders joy. Be joyful with the Gospel and in that joy, don’t allow yourself to become complacent.”
Third, he urged the seminarians not to underestimate the power of God’s word. “His word is unpredictable in its power. It’s beyond our comprehension.”
Bishop Bonnar also said that the word of God is intended for all. “It is vitally important today to go forth and preach the Gospel everywhere God’s word calls us to be,” he said. “Missionaries don’t keep the word exclusive. Share God’s word freely with all.”
Fifth, he said as they embrace the charge, “Do it with the support of all and with Jesus. A true evangelizer takes on the smell of the sheep,” he said, echoing the words of Pope Francis. He also cautioned that they might not always be received warmly.
Finally, he said, “As lectors, you take on a special office in the Church. Share the word; bring the message of salvation to those who have not yet heard it. Accept it in obedience to the Holy Spirit. Meditate on it, share it and go forth to the world.”
At the conclusion of Mass, Bishop Malesic congratulated the new lectors on another milestone in their formation and discernment for the priesthood. He also shared some good-natured teasing with Bishop Bonnar, noting his Pittsburgh roots. “I’m in Cleveland. I love it here and I’m a Browns fan,” Bishop Malesic said, referring to the fact that Bishop Bonnar previously served as a chaplain to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have a longtime football rivalry with the Browns.
After posing for photos with the bishops, the seminarians, their families and guests gathered for a reception in the Founders Room.