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Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic
Offices Chancellor Diocesan Memorandum May 2021

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Diocesan Memorandum

May, 2021 | Vol. 55, no. 5 | Prot. No. C-18/2021

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.


Sr. Rita Mary Harwood, SND, the Secretary for Parish Life and Development for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, has announced her intent to leave this position in August, completing a 26 year ministry in the diocese leading major initiatives affecting parish life and a variety of diocesan initiatives. The Secretariat for Parish Life and Development supports the work of the diocese and parishes by helping to build vibrant communities of faith and service.

“I consider the opportunity I have had to serve the good people of our diocesan and broader community a tremendous blessing!” said Sr. Rita Mary. ‘The Lord has blessed me during this time with the opportunity to guide the work of a very faith-filled and dedicated staff who committed themselves to serve in ministries of vital importance in the life of our local Church.  I have deeply loved working with the Bishops, priests, deacons, religious men and women, lay ministers, volunteers and all the good people of our communities! In these 26 years I have come to know and to love you; I will be forever grateful for the grace you have been in my life.”

Sister Rita Mary served as the Provincial Superior of the Sisters of Notre Dame, prior to joining the diocesan administrative staff in 1995 during the episcopate of the Most Reverend Anthony M. Pilla, the 9th Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland.

“I am deeply grateful to Sr. Rita Mary for her tireless and passionate dedication to pastoral ministry, evangelization, spiritual growth, and outreach with other faith communities throughout the diocese,” said the Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland.  “While I have just gotten to know Sr. Rita Mary, her reputation as a bridge-builder within our community is well known, and she is revered for her compassionate wisdom and deep institutional knowledge of the diocese. She will be greatly missed.”

In addition, Bishop Malesic has appointed Rev. Damian Ference to the new position of Vicar for Evangelization. Father Ference is a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland and serves on the formation faculty at Borromeo Seminary in Wickliffe, Ohio as Assistant Professor of Philosophy. As Vicar for Evangelization, Father Ference will be charged with sharing the radical beauty of the truth of the Catholic faith for everyone to see, leading all seekers to a transforming encounter with Christ.

“I know Father Damian possesses an unquenchable zeal to share the truth of the Gospel of Jesus,” Bishop Malesic said. “I believe Father Ference will make a tremendous impact on the Church’s efforts to bring others closer to Christ.”

“I offer my sincere appreciation to Bishop Malesic for his faith and trust in my ability to inspire others to deepen their relationship with the Lord, or to encounter Him for the first time,” said Father Ference. “I accept this new mission with great excitement and joyful hope in sharing the Good News of Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.”   

Father Ference graduated from Borromeo Seminary/John Carroll University in 1998, and after earning his M.A. and M.Div. from Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology he was ordained for the diocese of Cleveland in 2003. He served as parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish in Hudson, Ohio from 2003-2007. In 2009 he earned his licentiate in philosophy from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Ference has been part of the formation faculty at Borromeo Seminary since 2009. Fr. Ference is currently concluding his doctoral studies in philosophy at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and will return to Cleveland to take up his new role as Vicar for Evangelization in addition to his work at the seminary. He is the author of The Strangeness of Truth (Pauline Books & Media, 2019) and writes regularly on the intersection of faith and culture for Word on Fire and has published articles in a wide variety of periodicals, including America, Commonweal, Dappled Things, Emmanuel, First Things, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, The Plain Dealer, The Priest, U.S. Catholic, Worship, and the Flannery O’Connor Review.


Office of Catechetical Services Collection
Each year in the Diocese of Cleveland, a special collection is taken up in all the parishes to support the ministries of the Office of Catechetical Services. This Diocesan Secretariat focuses on providing guidance and support that promotes the evangelizing mission of the Church through the catechetical efforts of all parishes and Newman Campus ministries in the Diocese. Ministries, which will benefit from this collection include: faith formation for adults, teens and children, and family-based faith formation, as well as the ongoing formation of Parish Catechetical Leaders and catechists as missionary disciples.  Newman Catholic Campus Ministries provides opportunities for students to deepen a relationship with Christ through prayer and worship, community, faith and Bible studies, retreats and service. This year the collection will be held on the weekend of 8-9 May 2021. A contribution to the Office of Catechetical Services is an investment in the faith formation of people of all ages throughout the Diocese of Cleveland. Please encourage giving to this very special collection.

Office for Worship

June 2021 Liturgical Calendar Reminders:

The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated on Friday, June 11.  Thursday evening Masses after 4:00 p.m. and Evening Prayer are that of the Proper Vigil.

Father’s Day falls on the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 20.  “The mass of the Sunday is always celebrated. However, …intercessions and a prayer over the people are provided [in the Book of Blessings]. The prayer over the people may replace the final blessing.” (BB 1729-1731)

The Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist is celebrated on Thursday, June 24.  Wednesday evening Masses after 4:00 p.m. and Evening Prayer are that of the Proper Vigil.

Pope Francis has ordered the addition of Saints Mary and Lazarus to the existing Memorial of Saint Martha on July 29. Information on all the new celebrations is available here.

The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles, is celebrated on Tuesday, June 29.  Monday evening Masses after 4:00 p.m. and Evening Prayer are that of the Proper Vigil.

November 2021 Liturgical Calendar Notes:

The Solemnity of All Saints falls on Monday, November 1.  When this solemnity falls on a Monday, the obligation to attend Mass is abroated.  Sunday Evening Prayer is of All Saints.  Masses celebrating the Solemnity are to be celebrated on November 1.  A Vigil Mass for All Souls’ Day is not celebrated.

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day) is not a holy day of obligation.  Masses celebrating All Souls’ are to be celebrated on Tuesday, November 2.  There are multiple Scripture options for Masses celebrating this liturgy.  Consult the regional Ordo for a full listing of options.  Ritual Masses are not permitted on All Souls’ Day.  Weddings Within the Mass of the Day may be celebrated.

The “Order for Visiting a Cemetery on All Souls’ Day…” (Book of Blessings #1734-1754) may be used by a priest, deacon, lay minister, or a family, either immediately following Mass or apart from Mass.  If this is done immediately following Mass, the blessing and dismissal of Mass are omitted.  The priest may wear either a chasuble or cope for the procession to the cemetery, and a suitable psalm/song may be sung.  If this service is used by a family, a family member takes the minister’s parts.

Thanksgiving Day is Thursday, November 25.  The Proper Mass is used, with white vestments.  “Thanksgiving Day is a holiday with special religious significance…Individuals may bring food to be blessed for their Thanksgiving dinner [to Mass]. Food may also be blessed that will be distributed to the poor.” (Book of Blessings #1755-1756)   The “Order for a Blessing on the Occasion of Thanksgiving for the Harvest” may be celebrated outside Mass by a priest, deacon, or lay minister. (Book of Blessings #1007-1023)

The new liturgical year begins on Sunday, November 28 with the First Sunday of Advent.  The new Sunday Lectionary cycle is Year C, and the new Weekday Lectionary cycle is Year II.


Annual Appeal for Priestly Formation
This annual request for donations will be delivered to nearly 30,000 households the week of May 17th. The Annual Appeal for Priestly Formation supports our seminarians' personal growth and development. This includes seminary coursework and study, field education, spiritual direction, retreats, and workshops. To donate online visit or call Karen Joyce at 216-696-6525 x1910 to donate.

Planned Giving
Now more than ever, it’s important to have a plan in place for those we love, and to protect what God has blessed us with. As Christian stewards, it’s our responsibility to place our estate in order so that the blessings we receive from God can be shared with those we love and returned to God in gratitude. The Catholic Community Foundation invites you to attend a free webinar on June 1 from 10-11 a.m. to learn how you can create your Catholic legacy. Join us for Planning Your Legacy: Lessons Learned from the Pandemic to learn from Charles F. Adler, Esq. of Schneider Smeltz Spieth Bell, LLC about the 5 documents everyone should have, and how they can be used to support your Catholic values. Register at or call Colleen Rigo at 216-696-6525 x4080.


Fraudulent Unemployment Claims Still On The Rise
If you have received requests from ACR or ODJFS to provide personal information for an employee who has not filed for unemployment, please respond with, Claimant has not applied for any unemployment benefits, FRAUD, and forward immediately via email to Cathy Slezak at ACR and Kathy Pierce or call 216-731-8215.

Health Care Open Enrollment
If you wish to make any changes to your coverage, Health Care Plans - Enrollment/Change forms must be sent to the Health Benefits Office no later than May 14.  Any changes will be effective July 1.  Forms and information can be found at 

Contact the Employee Benefits Office, at (216) 696-6525, ext. 5040 or with any questions. 


Borromeo Seminary Catalog
The Vocation Office is pleased to share with you the fruit of many hours of work and collaboration which is our new Borromeo Catalog. This catalog will serve as a resource for men in discernment, their parents, high school guidance counselors, youth ministers, etc. It will provide them with an overview of the four pillars of formation and how they are integrated into seminary living, the practicalities of schedules and activities, as well as insight from those who have been through seminary formation.  The intent is to distribute these not just to discerners but also to high school guidance counselors so that they have another resource in support of seminary as they meet with men about their futures. The goal will be to update and reprint this resource every 3-4 years, or as necessary, to keep it as current as possible. I am certain this will be a valuable asset in helping men and their parents answer questions they may have and to feel more comfortable with the seminary.

You can view the catalog HERE. If you would like a physical copy to have on hand or to distribute to discerners please contact Maggie Zbiegien.


Global Prayer Marathon
Pope Francis has called for a global prayer marathon for the entire month of May, praying for the end to the pandemic. Thirty Marian shrines from around the world will take turns leading a daily live-streamed rosary at 12 p.m. (EST) on all Vatican media platforms. Each day has a different prayer intention related to the pandemic. The pope will open the month-long prayer May 1 and conclude it May 31. The list of shrines and prayer intentions can be found at here. We will share the link to the daily rosary on the diocesan (@dioceseofcleveland) and Parish Life (@DOCParishLife) Facebook pages.

Marriage and Family Ministry Office

Click here  for Family Perspectives.

Year of the Family - Mother’s & Father’s Day Resources
As we continue to celebrate the Year of the Family, we encourage families to pray together the order of blessings for household celebrations of Mother’s and Father’s Day. These resources are currently available on our website. 

Parenting Tips
Our office will periodically offer simple parenting tips that can be inserted in parish bulletins or websites.

Parenting Tip for May - Accentuate the Positive

Compliments and encouragement can go a long way toward changing poor behaviors and building self-esteem. Accentuate positive behaviors by praising children of any age when they undertake appropriate actions. By simply letting children know that we have noticed their good behaviors, we can have a direct effect on the number of times they undertake these actions. “Thank you for...”, or “Good for you for....” are great starts in creating a positive environment in your children’s lives.

For questions or more information about parenting resources, please contact Terri Yohman, Director of Marriage and Family Ministry.

50th Wedding Anniversary Mass 2021
Traditionally, married couples from across the diocese gather for the 50thWedding Anniversary Celebration at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. However, bringing together couples for this celebration is still not possible. Therefore, we must reimagine the ways that we can help mark this special occasion. 

This year, we would like to encourage parishes to organize a special celebration of wedding anniversaries within a Sunday Mass. The Office of Marriage and Family Ministry will also provide a certificate and blessing from the Bishop to each couple. Couples may register online at  starting May 1, 2021 and through July 5, 2021 to receive the certificate.   

Please visit our website for more information and downloadable resources. You may also contact Katie Galicic if you have any questions or for additional support.

Nourish for Caregivers Information Session 

Wednesday, June 9, 10:00 am 
Caregiving needs have expanded during the pandemic. Therefore, the Office for Marriage and Family Ministry will be bringing Nourish for Caregivers to Cleveland in an effort to address this growing need in our community. 

Nourish for Caregivers is a mission-driven ministry that responds to the immense needs of caregivers. Not just their practical needs, but their emotional and spiritual needs as well. Nourish for Caregivers is also unique. It is the only Catholic, turnkey program that comprehensively ministers to caregivers. Its curriculum provides tools and resources to help caregivers connect with their faith and encounter Christ, so that they can see the grace of God in their caregiving journey. 

We will host an information session via Zoom on June 9th at 10:00 AM. Please register on our website to learn more about the program and how it may benefit your faith community.  A Zoom link will be sent directly to those who register prior to the event.  For more information, please email Terri Yohman

Youth Ministry Office

National Catholic Youth Conference
On November 18-21, high school teens, youth ministers, priests, and chaperones will meet in Indianapolis for this biannual gathering of teens from across the country.  If your parish would like to join our diocesan group, please go to our website for more information or contact Francine Costantini by email. The event is smaller than in years past, and may sell out quickly. 

Coffee & Conversation
Youth ministers and priests, or anyone who ministers to teens, are invited to sign up for a one-on-one conversation with Francine Costantini, the new diocesan Director of Youth Ministry. This is an opportunity to share how you and your ministry are doing, and how the Office of Youth Ministry can serve you. You choose the location – online, at your parish, at a restaurant, etc. Sign up here.

Young Adult Ministry Office

Regional Young Adult Ministry Pods: The Young Adult Ministry Office has established 5 young adult ministry “pods” (3-4 parishes working collaboratively on young adult ministry initiatives in a given region). These pods are gearing up to release a summer schedule soon. If you are interested in forming a pod with parishes in your area to provide outreach to young adults, please contact Mike Hayes by email.

World Youth Day 2023:  Plans are beginning to form around the World Youth Day Pilgrimage that will take place in Lisbon, Portugal (likely in July or August, 2023). If you are a young adult between the ages of 18-35 and want to attend World Youth Day 2023, please contact Mike Hayes by email.


Office for Human Life

The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland announces the appointment of Mary P. von Carlowitz, as its new director of the Office for Human Life. As director for human life for the diocese, Mrs. von Carlowitz will be responsible for planning, coordinating and effectively integrating the activities of the Office for Human Life within a consistent ethic of life. Among her duties, Mrs. von Carlowitz will coordinate public information and education of papal encyclicals and teaching documents of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). She will also coordinate and integrate pastoral care services. In addition, Mrs. von Carlowitz will network with parishes and national, state and local pro-life organizations to promote public policy efforts on behalf of issues that impact human life from conception until natural death. She will also assist parishes and other diocesan organizations to carry out efforts that support consistent ethic of life activities.


[Please visit our website for the most updated schedule of events.]

Memorial Day Mass, May 31st
Catholic Cemeteries Association will celebrate Memorial Day Mass at various cemetery locations and two parishes on Monday, May 31, 2021.  All Cemetery Masses will be outdoors and socially distanced.  Mass will begin at 10 a.m. at most locations and 9 a.m. at few locations.  Visit the “Events” tab on our website for specific locations and times of the Memorial Day Masses as well as other memorial events throughout the year.   If you have further questions please contact Rhonda at 216-930-4866.


First Friday Club of Cleveland

Mary, His Messenger – Presented by: Trapper Jack (Philip Keller) | Thursday, May 6, 2021 | Live Webinar begins at Noon via Zoom | Registration and more information here.


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. 

An Evening of Peace for Peacemakers: A spiritual retreat for police officers, troopers and sheriff’s deputies (current, former and retired) | Tuesday, May 4, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. | May 4 presenters are Ari Wolf, Rick Maruniak and Father John Betters | $20

Hearts on Fire 2021 - A Virtual Event | Friday, May 14, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

May Morning Prayer for Women | Monday, May 17, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m. | Sr. Mary Ann Flannery, SC | $10

Cinema & Conversation: Fatima | Monday, May 17, 7:00 p.m. | Free Will Offering

8-Day Summer Individually Directed Retreat (IDR) | Monday, May 24, 5:00pm - Monday, May 31, 1:00pm | Cost: $695

First Spiritual Exercises: Inner Peace in Friendship with Jesus - A Virtual Program | Orientation Tuesday, May 25, 7:00pm and Saturdays in June, 10:00-11:30am | $100

Weekend Summer Individually Directed Retreat (IDR) | Friday, May 28, 5:30pm - Sunday, May 30, 1:00pm | $250


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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