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Edward Malesic Installed As Cleveland's Newest Catholic Bishop

Bishop Edward C. Malesic was installed Monday as the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland’s newest leader in a special Mass at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral.

Maslesic is the 12th bishop in the diocese’s 173-year history, succeeding Bishop Nelson J. Perez, who became the archbishop of Philadelphia in February

During his homily, Malesic said his first reaction when he was told Pope Francis had appointed him bishop of Cleveland was “it’s cold there.” 

“Anyone that knows me knows that I prefer palm trees over pine trees, but as a missionary disciple of Jesus Christ trusting in his holy will for me I said yes, and I’m glad I did. I am happy to be here with all of you today as the bishop of the Archdiocese of Cleveland.” 

Malesic also said he wants to visit each of the diocese’s 185 parishes, schools and seminaries as soon as possible. He also noted how sparse attendance in the cathedral was because of the ongoing pandemic. The Mass was ticketed, with limited seating and parishioners spread out between pews; nearly everyone attending in person wore a face mask. The installation also was broadacst on the Diocese of Cleveland’s website.

“With the current restrictions placed on us because of COVID-19 it feels like I’ve hit the ground but I can’t quite run yet,” Malesic said. “That’s going to be frustrating for me, but trust me there will come a time soon I hope when we will be able to gather again in large crowds, to meet each other, shake hands, see our unmasked faces, worship as one community in our churches with boisterous singing again and be with each other again at our festivals. Let’s pray for a quick end to this pandemic which has already gone on way too long.” 

Malesic addressed several controversial topics during his homily, including racial injustice, support for police officers, the child sex-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, abortion, poverty, urban blight and religious freedom. 

“We will not ignore this challenge or pretend that it does not exist,” Malesic said of racism. “We will carry this cross forward until the sin of racism is dead by nailing it to the cross with Jesus who showed his love for all of us no matter the color of our skin.” 

But police officers “need our support too,” he said.

“We cannot let a few bad officers define the men and women who keep us safe each and every day,” he said. “Let's pray in a special way for those who lost their lives recently in the line of duty, especially Det. James Skernivitz of the Cleveland Police Department.”

In his homily, Malesic spoke often of crosses to bear, including abuse in the Catholic Church.

“We admit it. We are embarrassed by it, but we are also resolved not to let it diminish our faith in Jesus. No, we will not put down that painful cross, ignore it or walk away from it,” he said. “We will carry that cross of shame by helping our victims.”

Malesic became a priest in 1987 in Harrisburg, Pa., received his licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and served the Diocese of Harrisburg’s Tribunal in various positions. He became the Bishop of Greensburg, Pa., in 2015.

But Malesic also called his new position a homecoming of sorts since he spent six years at a seminary in Columbus. 

“It’s good to be back in the Buckeye State,” he said.

ideastream's Glenn Forbes contributed to this report.

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