During his first visit to Visitation of Mary Parish in Akron, Bishop Edward Malesic prayed the Stations of the Cross and mingled with parishioners while enjoying a fish fry dinner. (See photo gallery above.)
Stations are one of the bishop’s favorite Lenten prayers. Last year, during his first Lent in the Diocese of Cleveland, he started visiting parishes to pray the stations with the faithful there. This year, with the pandemic waning, he also is able to join parishioners at their fish fry.
“I rarely miss the stations,” he said. “They are an important part of my Lenten spirituality. They help draw us to the wounded heart of Jesus.”
The bishop said people are suffering around the world from depression, cancer, loneliness and more. He specifically mentioned the Ukrainian people who are dealing with the impacts of war in their homeland.
“When we walk the way of the cross, Jesus was with us,” the bishop said.
As terrible as Jesus’ suffering was, it wasn’t the end of the story, he said. “There is hope for all of us who carry our crosses. We must follow Jesus forward.”
Even in Ukraine, where the devastation and death toll is rising, Bishop Malesic said there is a glimmer of hope. “So many people want to help them. It reminds us of Jesus walking among us,” he said.
“There are two sides to the cross. One side leads to death – the death of Jesus – and the other leads to life – his Resurrection – and the life to come,” he added.
Father Dismas Byarugaba, AJ, parish administrator, welcomed the bishop to Visitation of Mary and hosted him at the fish fry. Also attending stations and the fish fry were Father Paul Rosing, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Stow and former Visitation of Mary pastor.
Learn more about Visitation of Mary Parish here.