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Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic
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Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass

News of the Diocese

January 31, 2024

Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop urges young Church ‘to have faith’ during Catholic Schools Week Mass

Hundreds of elementary and high school students from across the eight-county Diocese of Cleveland traveled to the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on Jan. 30 for the annual Catholic Schools Week Mass.

The liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Edward Malesic with Father Damian Ference, vicar for evangelization, and Father Joshua Cochrac, parochial vicar at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Parma and Holy Name High School chaplain, as concelebrants. The music ministry from Lake Catholic High School and students from St. Mark School in Cleveland and St. Anthony of Padua School in Akron participated in the livestreamed Mass.

(See photo gallery above.)

Frank O’Linn, diocesan superintendent of schools, welcomed all, including those watching the livestream.

“It is a joy to be with you,” the bishop said. “You are the young Church of the Diocese of Cleveland and I say that on purpose. You are not the future Church; you already are the Church – the youngest and most vibrant members of the Church.”

He told the young people they are actively looking for answers to the questions of life, they are the ones who are still curious and fascinated about life and the ones who are filled with hopes and dreams.

“In a special way this week, we celebrate our Catholic schools. We come together to celebrate you, the students in our Catholic schools,” he added.

The special week provides an opportunity to celebrate the administration, educators, campus ministers, chaplains, home clergy and others who pass on the Catholic faith to the students, as well as the benefactors who help fund the schools and the parents who send their children to the schools.

In addition, the bishop recognized those behind the scenes who help make the schools thrive including maintenance and cafeteria workers, coaches and volunteers, noting they often don’t get the recognition they deserve. He encouraged the students to thank these people and others who are role models and support their education.

Catholic schools instruct students in science, English, religion, math, technology and more. They also offer athletics, drama and music to help students learn to work together as a team and to develop their God-given talents. Clubs and organizations help them to express their personal interests and form them into the individuals God created them to be, he added.

“Remember you are the only you in this world,” the bishop said. “Be the best that you can be. That is what makes God happy, when you strive to be the best that he has made you to be.”

Besides the regular curriculum, Catholic schools teach about God, the bishop said. “Just remember that knowing about God isn’t the same as knowing God. Knowing about Jesus isn’t the same as loving Jesus. Take the time, even risk, to come to know Jesus. That’s the opportunity we are giving to you. Don’t let it pass you by.”

He shared his faith story with the students, telling them about his first year in college and his encounter with a person who offered him a small Bible.

“Up until that time, I will admit that I wasn’t all that interested in my Catholic faith,” the bishop admitted. But once he started reading the Bible, “something awakened in me. I think it was the Holy Spirit whispering to me. And I knew somehow, in the depth of my heart, that God loved me. I was loved and that has been my strength ever since. When all else fails, at least I know that God loves me and you, too.”

This experience made him realize that “Jesus was no longer just a man in a Gospel story, but a man in my story. Jesus was not a figure from 2,000 years ago, but a God who was with me now. And when Jesus said in the Gospel, ‘Follow me,’ he was saying it to me,” the bishop said.

He told the students he still has that Bible and has asked to be buried with it. “My belief is that just as Jesus came out of the grave, I will too, someday. That’s the promise I learned by reading the Bible because I believe in God’s everlasting love for me and because I do my best to follow Jesus. He forgives me when I don’t do that well,” he added.

The bishop said that’s his hope for the students, also, that they find the happiness they want, which only God can give them. He also reminded them they are loved “without exception” because God made them, Jesus knows their names, calls their names and wants them to be saints in with him in heaven. “That’s what we teach in our Catholic schools that can’t be taught in other schools, and that’s what makes our schools so special. We not only fill your minds, but hopefully, we form your souls, too.”

Reflecting on the day’s readings, the bishop said the suffering woman believed that by touching Jesus’ clothing – even though she was considered unclean – she would be cured. She took the risk, trusted that Jesus would understand her suffering and touched the hem of his garment. He felt that someone needed him and asked who had touched him. The woman admitted what she had done and Jesus told her that her faith had healed her.

Each person has a story and needs some kind of healing or help. Although we have heard about Jesus and how he comes to save us, we need to do more – to go to him, which takes faith. We must trust that Jesus will give us what we need, but that may not be what we want, the bishop said.

“This is the great spiritual truth you have been taught. You have heard it from others. Make sure you follow through on it,” he told the students, “And then don’t keep it to yourself. There is someone else in this world who needs to hear about Jesus and you might be the only one to tell them … Be a witness of Jesus and his power that waits for those who come to him with faith.”

Catholic schools are supported by the Church to form disciples like them, the bishop said. “You are those disciples of Jesus that we are forming for the next generation.”

He also told them they will be fed from the altar during the Mass and believing this takes faith.

“So have faith, young Church. You are in the presence of the God who made you, loves you, forgives you and saves you … each of you is God’s beloved child and God delights in you. And that makes you each special to me, to your parents, to your teachers and to all who make up the family that you call your Catholic school,” the bishop said.

After Mass, students had a chance to pose for photos with the bishop. Those attending the liturgy also received a candy bar with a special message from Pope Francis: “True education enables us to love life and opens us to the fullness of life.”

Click here to view an archived recording of the 2024 Catholic Schools Week Mass.

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