Bishop Edward Malesic visited one of the new parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland when he celebrated Vigil Mass Jan. 29 at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Grafton. (See photo gallery above.)
The parish community, which numbers about 1,000 families, celebrates its 15th anniversary. Father John Seabold is a pastor.
It was the second time in a month that the bishop had visited the community of Grafton in Lorain County.
“I was in jail a few weeks ago,” he joked, recalling his Dec. 19 visit to Grafton Correctional Institution, a minimum/medium security prison that houses around 1,600 men. “Don’t worry. They let me out after I celebrated mass there.
He told the congregation that people sometimes wonder what it is like to have Mass in a prison. ” It is special. People make mistakes, but God never does. God loves us all. And that’s not a mistake. I learn that every time I visit a prison and I say to myself, over there, but for the grace of God, I go there. Yet we are all called to love – even our enemies.
Reflecting on the long history of the Church in the LaGrange/Grafton area, the Bishop noted that it dates back to the arrival of immigrants in the 1800s. “You have deep roots with the parishes of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption,” he said, adding that sometimes people realize that it is better to do things together than alone.
“Together you were even able to build a new home for your parish family – this beautiful church. You are a witness to the strength, resilience and faith of the Catholic Church, where Jesus is at the center of everything we do. Please keep it up,” he said. “Jesus is the reason we come together, the source of our hope, the inspiration for our way of life, and the strength behind our ability to do what sometimes seemed impossible.”
The bishop reminded the faithful that Catholics must love each other because love unites us. He thanked them for their hard work in making the parish a place of worship where the faith is proclaimed and a place of service.
Focusing on love, he explained that the classic definition of the word comes from Saint Thomas Aquinas, who said that love “is to want the good of another for the good of another. Love wants what is good for someone else.
Love is more than romance. When raised to its highest level, love wants what’s good for the other person, he explained, adding, “True love is supposed to survive when puppy love ends. . It is intended to help marriages last beyond the honeymoon phase.
In our faith, Jesus died on the cross out of love for us, because he wanted our good, our salvation. “Jesus loved from that cross,” he said.
In the second reading, St. Paul provided a good description of love, the bishop said, noting that the reading is often used at weddings: “Love is patient. Love is good.”
But, the bishop said, we must remember that God is patient and kind. He forgives and bears everything because he is love and he wants the best for us, so he forgives us, bears us and is patient with us.
“It is in this mold that we were cast. We were created as images of God, as images of love,” Bishop Malesic explained, which is why the love reading from Corinthians 13 speaks so eloquently to the hearts of many married couples. He said they want to make each other happy, give themselves to each other in marriage and be faithful to their spouse. “They want to be like God, who gives and who gave his only Son, so that we may have life.”
As the bishop pointed out, Saint Paul describes love as patient, just as God is patient with us. He is kind, not jealous, not pompous or rude, he does not seek his own interests, he is not short-tempered or brooding over hurts. “In the end, Saint Paul said that if we don’t love, we are nothing at all,” the bishop said. “It’s good advice from Saint Paul: ‘Love never fails.'”
He described each family as “a school of love” where we are forced to live together to learn to love together, as in a parish. There are challenges, but God helps us think of others before we think of ourselves. He praised the parish for exemplifying this spirit in the warmth and hospitality he says comes from its close-knit community of faith.
“Ultimately, when we are in heaven, the only thing that will endure is love – our ability to stay together in peace for an eternity – not by emphasizing our own holiness, but by enjoying the glory of those around us, and being happy that we have found their company,” the bishop said.
He encouraged the parish family to remain centered on the Eucharist, which unites them, and to be devoted to the Blessed Mother, who watches over us.
After Mass, the Bishop welcomed and mingled with parishioners in the gathering space, where they were conducting a weekend of familiarization, sharing information about various parish ministries and organizations.