The day after the May 9 announcement of his appointment as auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland, Bishop-elect Michael Woost was easing into his new ministry.
Wearing a zucchetto and pectoral cross, two of the symbols of a bishop, he celebrated Mass on May 10 for the Borromeo and Saint Mary seminary community.
(See photo gallery above.)
“This is surreal,” he said after processing into the seminary chapel. “It’s an honor to be here this morning with all of you. I can’t imagine any other place I’d rather be right now than with this community of faith. We come together this morning to give thanks and praise to God for his goodness and love and for the power of Christ’s resurrection at work in the world and our lives. We pray that we continue to respond to the call of the Spirit that all might truly live in the presence of the holiness of our good and loving God.”
After Mass, which was concelebrated by priests from the seminary faculty and administration, the congregation applauded as the bishop-elect processed from the chapel.
He posed for photos after Mass and continued with his work at the seminary, which is wrapping up the spring semester. Bishop-elect Woost has been an assistant professor of liturgical and sacramental theology at Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology since 2000. He also serves as chair, Department of Liturgical and Sacramental Theology, formation advisor and dean of students.
Recently, Bishop Edward Malesic appointed him to serve as interim director of the diocesan Office for Worship.
After his Aug. 4 episcopal ordination, Bishop-elect Woost said he likely would continue to live at the seminary and may teach a class. As auxiliary bishop, he will assist Bishop Malesic with duties throughout the eight-county diocese, including presiding at confirmations.
The night of May 10, the bishop-elect joined Bishop Malesic, Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Roger Gries and other priests at St. Basil the Great Church in Brecksville to concelebrate the annual jubilee Mass for deacons in the diocese. Before Mass, he was surrounded by deacons who offered their best wishes on his new ministry. After Mass, he mingled with the celebrating deacons, their wives and other guests at a reception on the parish Family Life Center.
He participated in a professional day with priests of the diocese of May 11 and on May 12, Bishop-elect Woost attended the commencement ceremonies for Saint Mary Seminary at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe.
The bishop-elect’s life changed suddenly on May 1, when Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, called to inform him that Pope Francis appointed him auxiliary bishop of Cleveland.
“I was stunned,” he said. “I didn’t know what to say.”
He and Bishop Malesic had dinner that night to discuss what his role could be in his new position.
The appointment was kept under wraps until it was announced publicly the morning of May 9.
Bishop Malesic said he is pleased with Bishop-elect Woost’s appointment. “He is a highly respected, capable and faithful man who will be a good helpmate with me in shepherding the wonderful people of our diocese. I look forward to working closely with Bishop-elect Woost and ask our people to pray for him as he prepares to be ordained as a bishop of our Church.”
Bishop David Bonnar of the neighboring Diocese of Youngstown also sent his best wishes, saying, “For many years, Father Woost has been a formator for our men in priestly formation who have attended Saint Mary Seminary in Cleveland. Bishop-elect Woost’s love for the priesthood and sacred liturgy are a gift to the Church. It gives me great joy to congratulate and welcome him to the fraternity of bishops.”
Bishop-elect Woost, 63, is a graduate of Saint Ignatius High School, Borromeo and Saint Mary seminaries. He earned a licentiate in sacred theology from The Catholic University of America and was ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 1984.
After ordination, he served as parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish in Madison and co-director of the diocesan Vocations Office before taking on his roles at the seminary.
Bishop-elect Woost is the second of seven sons of the late Carl and Norine Woost. Two of his brothers also are diocesan priests, Father David Woost, pastor of Divine Word Parish in Kirtland, and Father Tom Woost, pastor of St. Brendan Parish and administrator of St. Richard Parish, both in North Olmsted. Another brother, Jon, just finished his aspirant year as he discerns a vocation in the permanent diaconate for the diocese.