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Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic
Offices Catholic Education Keeping the Faith Letter from Bishop Malesic

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Letter from Bishop Malesic

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Many people in the diocese have heard me say that our dedication to Catholic education through our schools represents one of the largest and most important ministries of our Church in Northeast Ohio. I think Pope Francis said it best when he said, “The education of children and young people is such an important task in forming them as free and responsible human beings. It affirms their dignity as an inalienable gift that flows from our original creation as children made in the image and likeness of God. And because education truly forms human beings, it is especially the duty and responsibility of the Church, who is called to serve mankind from the heart of God and in such a way that no other institution can.”

And so, it is with extraordinary joy and much hope that I share our Keeping the Faith strategic plan for our treasured Catholic elementary schools. My expectation is that this plan will solidify our Catholic elementary schools to continue to be irresistibly Catholic, academically excellent, operationally sound and geographically accessible throughout our diocese for many years to come.

Since the establishment of our diocese in 1847, our Catholic schools have helped students blossom into men and women of virtue and grow into the people God created them to be. Our schools are committed to helping young people become servant leaders in our world and saints in the life to come.

I offer this plan relying on the grace of God and his spirit of hope as foretold in Scripture by the prophet Jeremiah, “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you is the oracle of the Lord; plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” (Jer: 29:11) I pray that we, as a diocesan community, embrace this Keeping the Faith strategic plan in the same spirit of hope envisioned by Jeremiah.

The mission of our parishes and schools is to provide opportunities for worship, evangelization and service that help to bring every man, woman and child ever closer to Christ. I am asking that over the next few years, each parish in our diocese seeks to formally associate itself with a Catholic school. This will look different throughout the diocese, but I believe that it will be vital for us to ensure that Catholic school education is an integral part of every parish. As we seek to align our schools under one common mission, I wish to share a philosophy of Catholic schools that I believe is crucially important.

  • We are called to missionary discipleship.
    Our world needs what our Catholic schools have to offer: the integral development of the whole person and the formation of persons who are fully alive in Christ, being perfected in freedom and loving according to the Gospel.

  • We must cast out into the deep.
    We are called to lead with zeal and move forward without fear, be proactive and strategic, embrace transparency, communicate the value of a Catholic school education effectively and offer appropriate support to our schools.

  • This is the responsibility of the entire catholic community:
    Investment in the Church’s future nourishes and enlivens parishes and builds up our communities as every parish will be associated with a school as part of its mission to evangelize our youth.

  • We are one Body in Christ
    With a diversity of gifts and talents, the Lord is calling us to act as one with him who has said to us, “Let the little children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Mt 10:14)

This plan is the result of three years of demanding work by a diverse cohort of resolute leaders in our community who, guided by the Holy Spirit, sought input from clergy, parents and many others concerned with the state of our Catholic elementary schools. I offer my sincere thanks for their steadfast involvement and sharing of their expertise. In a particular way, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Father John Betters, my assistant leading the Keeping the Faith initiative, and Dr. Frank O’ Linn, diocesan superintendent of schools, for their tireless dedication to the development of this plan.

Our diocese is at an inflection point specific to the future of our schools. I believe it is the right time to reflect deeply and creatively on the vision, strategy and operational norms of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Cleveland, to deepen and renew the commitment to our mission of forming young souls and to chart a significant positive course for the future. In the coming months and years, we look forward to implementing, in partnership with you, our plans for Keeping the Faith, resulting in a strong and secure future for our Catholic schools. May God bless the children in our care, their families, all those who serve the educational mission of our Church, you and those you love.

Your brother in Christ,
Most Rev. Edward C. Malesic, JCL
Bishop of Cleveland

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