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Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic
Offices Chancellor Diocesan Memorandum February 2023

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Diocesan Memorandum

February 2023 | Vol. 57, no. 2 | Prot. No. C-3/2023

The Diocesan Memorandum (formerly the Clergy Memorandum) is a service of the Office of the Chancellor for clergy and lay leadership of the Diocese of Cleveland, providing a summary of relevant and timely information from the Office of the Bishop and other diocesan offices.


Dispensation from Friday Abstinence on Saint Patrick’s Day
Saint Patrick’s Day this year falls on a Friday of Lent, when we are obliged to do penance by abstaining from consuming meat. For this year, Bishop Malesic has granted a dispensation from the obligation. “After prayerful consideration, I am granting this dispensation from the obligation to abstain from meat for those who feel it absolutely necessary to be dispensed in order to celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick. I ask that those who exercise this dispensation and eat meat on the Feast of St. Patrick to select another non-Friday day during Lent to abstain from eating meat or to make some offering on behalf of the poor, whether by prayer, fasting or almsgiving.”

New Instruction on Capital Projects
Bishop Malesic has promulgated a new Instruction on Capital Projects. The revised policy clarifies a number of items including the role of Diocese of Cleveland Facilities Services, updates the insurance and bonding requirements for contractors working on capital projects, includes references to the Temporal Goods Committee and related approval process, and also substantially changes the union and prevailing wage requirements.  Some highlights of the revised Instruction include: 

  • Bonds are now required only on capital projects exceeding $1 million, or where the circumstances of a specific project warrant a bond as determined in the Bishop’s discretion. 
  • The prevailing wage requirement for projects over $250,000 has been eliminated, and there is now no prevailing wage requirement.
  • The threshold to include union contractors in the bidding process has been increased to $500,000. 
  • The union contractor requirement for projects over $500,000 has been eliminated, and there is now no requirement for projects to be completed by union contractors (other than including union contractors in the bidding for projects over $500,000).   

Please review this policy carefully and disseminate to persons at your parish involved in the capital project process. 

Office for Worship

Adult Faith Formation: Eucharist
A three-part video series, Forming Our Liturgical Lives: The Meaning of Living Out the Eucharist, is available for viewing on the Office for Worship website here. The half-hour long videos were designed to aid parishioners in a deeper reflection on the Eucharistic Liturgy. Highlighted in a particular way are teachings on joining our daily sacrifices and our very selves with the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, and how it is that the Eucharist transforms us so that we may share in the divine life.

The staff at Divine Word Parish commissioned these videos to use as part of an Alpha-style adult faith formation program. Parishioners gathered on four Monday evenings for a meal followed by one of the videos, guided table discussions, and a question/answer period facilitated by parish staff members. The final Monday evening utilized a panel presentation to respond to other question and topics raised by the video content and parishioners’ interests. The Divine Word staff and parishioners found this format and the program’s content meaningful and particularly helpful as we move closer to the parish phase of the Eucharistic Revival.

Rite of Election Reminder
The 2023 Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion will be celebrated on Sunday, February 26, at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. All parishes are asked to register their catechumens and candidates for full communion for this special celebration no later than February 12. The registration link was sent by email to all Priests, Parish Life Coordinators and Deacons on January 6, 2023.

The Office for Worship is in need of 5-6 volunteers to assist as Ushers at each liturgy. If you or any of your parishioners would be willing to assist, please sign up here.

Revised Order of Penance
In June 2021, the USCCB approved a new English translation of the Order of Penance for use in the dioceses of the United States. A decree of promulgation was issued in June of this year, permitting use of the new translation beginning on Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2023. Use of the new translation is mandatory beginning with Divine Mercy Sunday, April 16, 2023. After that date, no other English translation of the rite may be used.

The new ritual book provides options for invitation to the Sacrament at the beginning of the rite, options for Scripture readings, various versions of the Act of Contrition, and optional dismissal texts. Priests should pay special note to the minor modifications the new translation makes to the Prayer of Absolution:

God, the Father of mercies,
through the Death and Resurrection of his Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and poured out [from “sent”] the Holy Spirit for [from “Spirit among us for”] the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God grant [from “give”] you pardon and peace.
And I absolve you from your sins,
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. 

The new ritual book is available from these publishers:

A free webinar from the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions on the revised rite is available here.

March 2023 Liturgical Calendar Reminders:

The Diocesan Evening of Confession returns this year on March 8th. All parishes in the diocese will welcome the faithful from 5-8 pm. All are invited to participate in the Sacrament of God’s mercy at their own parish or any parish in the diocese.

The Solemnity of St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is transferred from Sunday, March 19 to Monday March 20. This solemnity is not a holyday of obligation. It is the custom in some places to bless on this day bread, pastries, and other food and to give a large portion of it to the poor. For the Order of Blessing of St. Joseph’s Table, see Book of Blessings #1679-1700.

The Solemnity of the Annunciation is celebrated on Saturday, March 25, 2023. This solemnity is not a holyday of obligation. Masses celebrating the Annunciation are to be celebrated in the morning. The vigil Masses celebrated at 4:00 p.m. or later on Saturday, March 25, are for the Fifth Sunday of Lent.

The Fifth Sunday of Lent – March 26. The practice of covering crosses and images throughout the church from this Sunday may be observed. Crosses remain covered until the end of the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, but images remain covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.

Office of the Chancellor

Vendors of goods from the Holy Land
Bishop Edward C. Malesic has granted permission to the following vendors to sell religious articles from the Holy Land at the Catholic Parishes in the Diocese of Cleveland.

1. Mr. and Mrs. Ibrahim Abufarha of Holy Land Carvings, 5220 Sandallwood Cir. Grand Blanc, MI 48439

2.  Mrs. Suhair Musleh of Holy Land Gifts, 4850 Lynn Place, Warren, OH 44483

3.  Mr. Roni Salsa of Land of Peace, Inc., 35436 Mound Rd., Sterling Hts., MI 48310

The permission is granted effective February 21, 2023 until February 20, 2024.

If you are contacted by any of the individuals named above, please know that they have the Bishop’s permission to do so and that you can determine whether or not to permit them to display religious articles from the Holy Land at your parish.

There have been some reports of confusion by parish staff between vendors; for example, that a booking has been made by one vendor, then a new booking made with a second vendor while parish staff were under the impression that this was merely a rescheduling of the date of the first vendor. If in doubt, you may wish to ensure that you are speaking with the correct vendor by calling back to the contact number originally given to you at the time of the first booking. Some vendors have expressed disappointment at the poor sales they have experienced when they have visited a parish shortly after another vendor has visited the same parish. If you have any feedback (good or bad) regarding your experience with these vendors, kindly let Mr. Vincent Gardiner know so that it can be considered prior to making a decision regarding next year’s vendors.


Case Specialist Formation
The Secretariat for Canonical Services and the Tribunal will hold sessions for those who are interested in being approved by the Bishop to assisting people with presenting marriage cases to the Tribunal and to the Secretariat for Canonical Services. Six classes, held over six weeks, are required. The classes are offered twice each week and participants may choose from either of two class dates each week. The classes will take place in Spring 2023: on Tuesdays April 25-May 30, 1pm-4pm, and/or Wednesdays April 26-May 31, 6-9pm. Participants must have taken a canon law course. Laity must have a letter of support from their pastor indicating that he desires them to take the training. Registration can be completed at the Tribunal website. Call Lynette Tait, extension 1129 with any questions.

Canon Law Course
The canon law course “Canon Law for Pastoral Ministers” will be offered this spring/summer through St. Mary Graduate School of Theology. The course is offered for the laity and can be taken for graduate credit through St. Mary or audited. The course satisfies the canon law prerequisite for anyone who desires to enroll in the training program for being certified as a Case Specialist for the Tribunal. An informational meeting will take place on Friday, 14 April 2023 at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in the St. Anthony Center, room 109, at which time the specific class dates/times will be determined. Contact Lynette Tait at the Tribunal, 216.696.6525, extension 1129.


Bishop Malesic is unveiling a multi-year plan to strengthen Catholic education in the diocese. Please print and distribute the bulletin insert following the bishop's introduction of the Keeping the Faith Strategic Plan for Catholic Elementary Schools, scheduled for January 31. 


Angel Scholarship Fund – A Smashing Success
Thanks to all of our school and parish leaders, and special thanks to all those who contributed to our first-year success with the Angel Scholarship Fund (ASF), Ohio’s new tax-credit scholarship program. We received a wonderful year-end response, with more than $3 million contributed in December alone, and a total of $4.5 million collected during 2022. All who made a contribution to ASF in 2022 will be mailed a tax receipt for filing their Ohio state income taxes. Contact Fred Roberts at 216-902-1312 for more information.

Designated contributions made to ASF in 2022 will be available for schools to allocate for the 2023/2024 school year; and undesignated contributions will be available through the FACTS application process. All schools are encouraged to learn more about the ASF Application and Distribution process by attending a zoom meeting that is scheduled for February 23rdat 10:00 A.M. (a meeting link will be provided the first week of February). Contact Paul Gnatowski at 216-696-6525, ext. 1032 for more information.

Parish Legacy Gift Opportunities
The Catholic Community Foundation has many different resources to assist your parish in promoting legacy gifts in support of your parish. If you are interested in these opportunities, please email Mary Lou Ozimek or call 216-696-6525 x4070.

Qualified Charitable Distributions bulletin announcement
If you are 70 ½ or older, you may be able to make a gift of a Qualified Charitable Distribution from your IRA that will help us in our ministry and reduce your taxable income. Talk to your advisors and IRA administrator for more information and to be sure that your IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution gift is made directly from an IRA to a qualified charity such as our parish. Questions? Contact XX in our parish office at XXX-XXX-XXXX or Jean Ann Montagna of the Catholic Community Foundation at 216-696-6525 x 8070 or visit

2023 Catholic Charities Appeal

Parish In-Pew Appeal February 18-19

February 11-12: Announcement Weekend: All parishes are asked to use the preprinted Bulletin Inserts received in their parish kits and the Announcements and Prayers of the Faithful available at here.

February 18-19: Commitment Weekend: All parishes are asked to conduct the In-Pew Appeal this weekend with the pastor speaking from the pulpit and facilitating the completion of pledge envelopes.

Convenient, no contact ways to give: Online | Text-To-Give: text CCHOPE to 41444 | Scan to Give: scan the QR code on in-pew envelopes and bulletin inserts

If you have questions or for more information email Sarah Gozur or call 216-696-6525 x1910.


Vocation Office

Written for the Avilas of the Diocese of Cleveland, these booklets are available for parish use and free of charge through the generosity of the Knights of Columbus. For more information or to place an order, please email Mary Avenoso, or call 440-943-7630.

The 39th Bishop’s Seminary Brunch will be held on Sunday, 26 March 2023, 12 Noon to 3:00 p.m. at Landerhaven. This is a fundraising event to benefit our seminarians. Consider filling a table of ten by inviting your parishioners and friends to attend. Individual tickets are also available. For more information, please email Mary Avenoso or call 440-943-7630. To purchase a table, tickets, or donate click here.


Standard Mileage Rate For 2023
Beginning January 1, 2023, the standard mileage rate for the use of a car for business miles driven is 65.5 cents per mile. More detail can be found on the IRS website.


Parish Fish Fry Listing
The Communication Department will once again list parishes/schools holding a fish fry during Lent on the diocesan website. Parish/schools are asked to complete the form at to submit their information. The listing will include the name of parish/school, address, phone, URL and dates of the fish fry. No other details will be listed. Parishes/schools are encouraged to put more detailed information on their websites that will be linked from the diocesan website. Questions about this listing can be sent to Jeff Stutzman in the Communications Department.

Northeast Ohio Catholic magazine, official publication of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, is participating with our publication partner FAITH Catholic in an essay contest including all FAITH publications that will award one Catholic high school student $1,500. The 2023 Father Charles Irvin Memorial Writing Scholarship honors FAITH Catholic’s founding editor-in-chief. The 2023 theme is: Tell us about the person in whom you most see the face of Christ.

Entries must be submitted by a parish DRE, youth minister, Catholic high school teacher or pastor. No student-submitted essays will be considered. Send entries as a Word document attached to an email addressed to Carol Kovach. Deadline is March 17. Include “FAITH essay contest” in the subject line. The top three diocesan entries will be forwarded to FAITH Catholic where the winner will be chosen. Click here for contest details and links to promotional materials.


Eucharistic Revival
If you were unable to attend the virtual orientation for the Parish Year of Eucharistic Revival on January 18, please visit our website to view the recording.

Also, the Diocesan Prayer for Eucharistic Revival has been translated into eleven different languages. The prayer was written by the diocesan team for the Eucharistic Revival and reflects much of the feedback received from the synodal listening sessions in regards to the Eucharist. We hope you will encourage community members to use this prayer during meetings and gatherings, as well as part of their individual prayer. To download the prayers, go to and click on “Media Kit.” Printer-friendly versions will be added soon.

Black Catholic Ministries

Final Call: Day of Reflection Follow-Up & Info Session in preparation for the National Black Catholic Congress XIII will be held on Saturday, February 4, 2023 10:30 AM – Noon at Our Lady of Peace Church. All are welcome.

Let us honor mark National Black History Month by a Special Service Project. Help the Edmundite Missions in Selma, Alabama bring relief to thousands of people needing food, clothing, and shelter as they struggle through the aftermath of the monstrous tornado that struck their area on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Please visit to send your emergency gift today as they await relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Office of Child Protection

The Diocese of Cleveland has been found “In Compliance” with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People for the audit period July 1, 2019 through September 30, 2022. Thank you all for your efforts year after year to keep our kids safe.

As recommended by the auditors, we also plan to resume parish “audits” throughout the year to review your records and ensure your understanding of the policies and procedures for safe environments. We intend to hold these meetings virtually unless a site visit is requested. We’d like to have the pastor, the DRE, the Principal and the VIRTUS Local Administrator involved in these reviews. We will reach out to parishes throughout the year to schedule Zoom sessions. Again, on behalf of all the children, I am grateful for your attention to these critical matters of compliance.

Hispanic Ministry

St. Anne & Joachim Grandparent Workshop | February 11, 8:30am-12:30pm | St. Mary Church, Painesville, OH
This workshop will be offered in Spanish for older adults interested in learning more about how to share their Catholic faith with their grandchildren of all ages. Brunch will be provided. Click here for more information.

Instituto Emaús / Escuela de Discípulos Misioneros | Emmaus Institute / School of Missionary Disciples | Saturday, February 25, 9:00am-4:00pm | Center For Pastoral Leadership

En este curso se vera las etapas de desarrollo del ser humano desde una perspectiva cristiana. | During this course we will discuss the stages of human development from a Christian perspective.

Lay Ecclesial Ministry

Please join us in welcoming Michelle Nowak as the new director of Lay Ecclesial Ministry for the Diocese of Cleveland. Michelle was certified as a lay ecclesial minister in 2003, has served faithfully as youth minister, pastoral minister, and director of religious education. Michelle holds a Master of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Theology, as well as being certified as a master catechist in the Diocese of Cleveland. In addition, she has been trained at the Ignatian Spirituality Institute at John Carroll University. Michelle is a wife and a mother of three children, and she enjoys writing, gardening, reading, and travel.

See our candidates in the Lay Ecclesial Ministry certification program; click here to download a print-friendly version. The Lay Ecclesial Ministry Office is also happy to send you one or more posters for your parish or institution. Simply contact us and let us know how many you need.

Catholic Social Teaching Workshop | February 11, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm | Center for Pastoral Leadership, Aula Room

This is the second of three workshops on Catholic Social Teaching. The topic is “Pro-Life in a Post-Roe World,” presented by Mary von Carlowitz. There is no fee. Registration is required.

Marriage & Family Ministry

The 50th Anniversary Jubilee Mass information is live on the website. Click here for details about the day, including parking, pictures, and certificates. No registration is required to attend the Mass. However, the online request form does need to be submitted by the couple in order to receive a certificate and blessing by mail.

Registration is open through the end of June and the certificates will be mailed early September. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Erin Marie Raines or by phone at 216-696-6525, ext. 7670.

Marriages of Grace Annual Marriage Retreat Day | Saturday, April 22, 2023 | Holiday Inn Conference Center, Independence | Marriages of Grace is bringing in renowned speakers Dr. Andrew and Sarah Swafford for a day of marriage enrichment. Mark your calendar and include in parish bulletins.

Single Catholics
National Catholic Singles has an online group that connects singles from all over the United States. Sharing this news from the pulpit, parish social media, and websites can help support those with this very special vocation. They have a Facebook page, as well as an app. They also host an annual National Conference. The Marriage and Family Diocesan webpage includes this information, as well as information about dating and retreats.

Ministry Leaders
The Marriage and Family Ministry Office has a page on the website dedicated to you. Information can be found there about current resources and answers to questions that we have been receiving via email or phone calls. Please check it out and let your bulletin editors know about it also.

Office of Missionary Discipleship

Save the date: Monday, Sherry Weddell, April 24, 2023
The Diocese of Cleveland will host Sherry Weddell, author of Living as Missionary Disciples. Details around this event will be coming soon. Our time spent with Ms. Weddell will lead us to discern effective evangelization methods and strategies to encourage those in our parishes and communities to live more deeply as followers of the Eucharistic Lord.

A message from Christy Cabaniss, Director of Missionary Discipleship:
As I get more familiar with the Diocese of Cleveland, I would like to invite pastors and parish leaders who are responsible for adult formation to reach out for meetings. We can meet online or in person to touch base about how I can best serve your community. Wednesday and Thursday afternoons work best, feel free to contact me by email or 216-696-6525 x2552.

Office of Youth Ministry

Diocesan Youth Advisory Council Applications
We are looking for applicants of high school sophomores and juniors to create this new council with representatives of all eight counties. Be the voice of the young Church to the Bishop, to make the needs of youth known, to form leaders as missionary disciples to their peers, families, and parishes. If you know any teens you would like to recommend, please encourage them to apply here.

YM Bootcamp: Large Events and Fundraising | February 9, 1:00 pm | St. Francis of Assisi Parish | Optional Lunch at 12:15pm
Let's talk about how to plan, execute, and follow-up for camps, conferences, and pilgrimages. We will also discuss fundraising - how to go beyond basic bake sales and car washes to not only raise funds for your event, but involve the entire parish in praying and supporting your teenagers. Please join us for this Youth Minister Bootcamp formation event. While this was initially conceived for newer youth ministers, 5+ year veterans can certainly benefit from new information, and the collective wisdom of the group as we discuss these important topics. Register by February 6.

Desert Day Retreat | February 13, 9:00 am-5:30 pm | Jesuit Retreat Center, Parma   
It is hard to keep giving from an empty cup, so come spend time with the Lord and be filled. This event is geared for those who work with middle and high school teens - especially youth ministers, campus ministers, youth ministry volunteers, and Parish Catechetical Leaders. We will start with a light breakfast, an inspiring talk by John Beaulieu, Director of Evangelization and Formation at Franciscan University, and then go on our own to read, reflect, respond, and pray in solitude with God. Mass, Adoration, Confession, and Spiritual Direction will be available. Register by February 6.

Middle School Youth Minister Gathering | February 23, 1:00-3:00 pm | Location TBA           
Do you work with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders? Join other youth and campus ministers who understand the unique joys and challenges of this age group. Bring your favorite activities, and come and share best practices. Mark your calendar now... more details coming in the February eNewsletter. 

Sign up for the eNewsletter
The Office of Youth Ministry sends out an eNewsletter once or twice a month with information for those ministering to youth in our diocese. It is the primary means of communication from this office. Priests, deacons, PCLs, as well as youth and campus ministers are encouraged to sign up. If you would like to receive the email, please sign up here.

Young Adult Ministry

Believeland Young Adult Retreat | February 17-19 | Jesuit Retreat Center
Join other young adults in their 20s and 30s as they explore their past, present and future through the lens of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. The retreat is led by a young adult team along with some clergy and lay staff. Cost: $65 suggested donation. Scholarships available – no one refused because of finances. Register here.

Theology on Tap | February 21 | Forest City Brewery
“Creation as Gift”: A Reflection on JPII’s Meditation on Givenness with Gregg and Dr. Elizabeth Stovicek. Register here .

Theology on Tap on the Eastside | January 25; February 15; March 22; April 26; May 24
Starting this month, there will be a Theology on Tap from 7-9 pm at Abo's Grill in Lyndhurst on every fourth Wednesday through May. See the Office of Young Adult Ministry's Theology on Tap page or Instagram for more details. Registration can be done prior online or at the door.


Disability Services

Summer Camp Employment Working with Children with Disabilities
Catholic Charities Disability Services will be interviewing college students and young professionals to work this summer for Camp Happiness at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe. This is a great opportunity to experience a job that is truly one of service and is personally fulfilling and have fun. Camp Happiness is from June 12 to July 28, 2023 from 9:00am to 3:00pm (includes one week of training and six weeks of camp). If you are interested in learning more about working at camp, email Kayti Hedberg or call 216-334-2997. You can also find information on our website.


The Catholic Cemeteries Association is here for you. We offer educational seminars for parishioners to learn more about The Rite of Christian Burial, full body or cremation burials and pre-planning burial arrangements. Please email Bob DeJohn or call 216-539-7943 with any questions or to schedule an educational seminar for your parish.


First Friday Club of Akron
Fr. James Daprile | Friday, February 3, 2023 at Our Lady of Cedars, 507 South Cleveland Massillon Rd., Fairlawn, OH 44333 | Registration and more information here

Theology on the Rocks
Fr. Dan Schlegel | Monday, February 13 – 7pm | Copper Cup (Ironwood Café) at 680 Dover Center in Westlake | Click here for more information.


Jesuit Retreat Center Programs, 5629 State Road, Parma, Ohio 44134
For more information on the programs listed below, please click here or call 440-884-9300. 

4-Week Ignatian Retreat: Weeks #3-4: Everyday Life, Ignatian Spirituality, Spiritual Exercises | Wednesdays, 7:00pm - 8:30pm. February 15 & 22, March 1, 8 & 15 | Fr. Paul O’Connor, SJ. | $220

Ancient Practices for a Modern World: Part II - Lent | Monday, February 20, 8:30am - 3:30pm | Bill Hobbs | $40

February Morning Prayer for Women | Monday, February 20, 9:30am - 11:00am | Sr. Mary Ann Flannery, S.C. | Free Will Offering (walk-ins welcome, registration not required)

February Sabbath Days - a Personal Retreat Day | Tuesday, February 21, 8:30am - 3:30pm | $50

Lent: Ignatian Reflection & Luncheon: Encounter Lent, Deepen your Prayer, Ignatian Spirituality | Monday, February 27, 10:30am - 12:30pm | Fr. Paul O’Connor, S.J. | $40

Cinema & Conversation: East of the Mountains | Monday, February 27, 7:00pm - 9:00pm | Free Will Offering (walk-ins welcome, registration not required)

* * *

Submissions for the next Memorandum should be made to Ann Marie Perkins by the 15th of the preceding month. Guidelines for submissions are available here.

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