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Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic
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‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads

News of the Diocese

May 13, 2022

‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads
‘Make life, light of Jesus visible in the world,’ bishop tells Saint Mary Seminary grads

Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology awarded 19 advanced degrees during its annual commencement ceremony May 12 at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe. The seminary was founded in 1848, just a year after the Diocese of Cleveland was established.

(See photo gallery above.)

After offering congratulations to the graduates, Bishop Edward Malesic told them the day marked a significant step in their vocational journey and their service to the Church. It marks a new chapter in their lives, but it’s not something they achieved alone. He reminded them that their families and friends accompanied them on their academic journey as well as the administration, faculty and staff and others who support Saint Mary.

“Never stop theologizing,” Bishop Malesic told the graduates. “Always look for new ways to evangelize.”

Ursuline Sister Mary McCormick, academic dean and professor of systematic theology, introduced Deacon David Kushner, the commencement speaker and director of the permanent diaconate formation program. He earned a master of arts (theology) in 2014 and a doctor of ministry in 2018 from Saint Mary. Kushner is retiring at the end of May from his role as director of the permanent diaconate formation program.

“I always felt like the Forrest Gump of the seminary,” Kushner quipped, expressing his appreciation for being invited to address the group.

“The Holy Spirit of the Lord was placed in you a long time ago,” he told the graduates, and proclaimed again that evening. “He will walk out of here with you and will be with you always. As graduates, you are prepared to serve others. And the Lord who brought you this far will walk with you to the end,” Kushner said.

“Allow yourself to be an instrument of the Lord, to accomplish what he’s asking you to do,” he added.

Kushner told the graduates to remember two things: “Rely on your relationship with Jesus Christ and remember that you have a special identity as the son or daughter of the Lord. Keep him close to you. He longs to be close to you. Remember that he called you and chose you to follow him,” Kushner said. “You never know what you’ll be asked to do. You will be God’s voice. As sons and daughters of the Lord, you are loved,” he said.

He also reminded the graduates that commencement is only a step, not an end. “We’re incomplete as disciples. We must be patient,” Kushner said, reminding the graduates that this is not the end, but the beginning of a new phase in life.

Father Mark Latcovich, president-rector of the seminary, expressed his appreciation to the bishop for his presence and support of the seminary. He also recognized Bishop Martin Amos, retired bishop of the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, who was in attendance, and congratulated Bishop-elect Michael Woost, dean of students and associate professor of liturgical-sacramental theology, who was appointed by Pope Francis on May 9 as the new auxiliary bishop of Cleveland.

As the ceremony concluded. Bishop Malesic asked everyone to look around the chapel. “This is a snapshot of our Church,” he said, pointing out deacons, priests, religious sisters and laity were there.

“Our role is to help everyone learn what we know from the Gospel. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, never to return to the grave again,” he said, urging the graduates and others to “proclaim, proclaim, proclaim that message. We are all evangelist. Make the life and light of Jesus Christ visible in this world to all who need him. Keep the Church strong,” the bishop said.

Graduates and guests enjoyed a reception after the ceremony.

Those earning a master of divinity degree are Brook Benedict, Connor Hetzel, Ian Kelly, Joseph Menkhaus Jr., Scot Swinerton and David Verbsky.

Master of arts (theology) degrees were earned by Benedict, Matthew Harley Sr., Hetzel, Debra Kacsala, Kyle Lorek, Menkhaus, Deborah Nemecek and Verbsky.

Carolyn Aperson, Father David Misbrener, Teresa Sipos, Father Michael Stalla and Cari White earned doctor of ministry degrees.

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