A contingent of nearly 110 pilgrims representing the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland were among the more than 10,000 high school teens and chaperones who descended Nov. 18-21 on Indianapolis, Indiana for the 2021 National Catholic Youth Conference. Attendees came from as far away as Hawaii.
Bishop Edward Malesic attended the entire conference, He traveled there immediately after concluding business at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall meeting in Baltimore, Maryland earlier that week. A former campus minister, the bishop spent most of his time with the Cleveland diocesan group. He decided to forego the accommodations made for the attending bishops, opting instead to share meals with the local teens and to sit among them during the general sessions each morning and evening in Lucas Oil Stadium.
The bishop celebrated Mass at the hotel for the Cleveland group the afternoon of their arrival. He also was asked to celebrate Mass the morning of Nov. 20 at St. John the Evangelist Church, across from the Indianapolis Convention Center, where much of the conference took place. The Cleveland teens attended that Mass, also. In his homily, the bishop shared his delight at being asked to celebrate Mass in that church, which is under the same patronage as the cathedral in Cleveland and also is the name of the parish where he was baptized in his native Pennsylvania.
Cassidy Miller of St. Clarence Parish in North Olmsted introduced Bishop Malesic during the morning session Nov. 19, on the main stage. He ensured that one of the teens from Cleveland would introduce him at the conference.
“We have never had a bishop so engaged and present to our teens before at this conference, or any conference I have attended,” said Francine Costantini, director of the diocesan Youth Ministry Office. “The teens loved talking and laughing with him. It meant so much to them that he spent so much time with them,” Costantini said.
“The diocesan T-shirt that all our teens were given for NCYC says ‘Serve the Lord with Gladness’ on the back. When a shirt was presented to Bishop Malesic after Mass at the hotel on Nov. 18, he exclaimed, ‘That’s my motto,’” Costantini said.
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Contact Costantini at email@example.com.