Bishop Malesic meets with Pope Francis

Day of thanksgiving: Bishop Malesic meets with Pope Francis

By Jerry Zufelt

GREENSBURG — Calling it an amazing day and a highlight of his life, Bishop Edward C. Malesic left his Thanksgiving Day visit with Pope Francis with words of encouragement and hope for him and the Catholics of the Diocese of Greensburg. “It far exceeded my expectations. It was like brothers being with a very wise father,” Bishop Malesic said of the meeting the pope had with the 20 bishops of Pennsylvania and New Jersey as part of their ad limina trip to the Vatican Nov. 25-29.

“He asked for an honest and open conversation. He grasps what it means to be a bishop and the challenges of being a bishop today,” he said. “But he’s a very hopeful man. He was able to say, ‘Place it in God’s hands, and trust in the spirit of the Lord to move us forward.’ It was an amazing conversation.”

During the meeting, Bishop Malesic asked the pope how the church can continue to move forward and share the Gospel, especially with so much negativity in the world.

“He said that we must be witnesses for Christ if we want to be taken seriously, showing people what it means to be a Christian and not just telling them what it means. The best way to proclaim the Gospel is to give witness to it with your lives. That is a tremendous piece of advice for all of us,” he said.

“The pope also said to be patient, like a sower who must sow seeds and then wait for the harvest. We plant the seeds, spread the Gospel, and trust in the Lord to bring our work to fruition. He gave all of us much encouragement and hope,” the bishop said.

The ad limina involved more than the visit with the pope. Bishop Malesic and the other bishops met with several of the Vatican offices that help the pope lead the church. The bishops also prayed at the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul, which they are required to do every few years to remind themselves that they are to follow the missionary example of the early apostles.

Bishop Malesic said the discussion at the meeting with the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization was enlightening.

“We shared ideas about how to proclaim the faith in its fullness, using the Catechism of the Catholic Church as our basis,” he said. “But we also noted that this must lead to a personal encounter with the person of Jesus, risen from the dead. Without that personal encounter, faith fails to take root.”

The ultimate goal of evangelization, Bishop Malesic said, is to “awaken the faith in the baptized so that we can go and proclaim the Good News to others.”

He said this must be done in every way possible, including the use of new technologies.

One of his meetings was with the new Dicastery of Communication.

“Like us, the Vatican is trying to determine how best to communicate the message of the Church, the message of Jesus, to the world and in what form. The Holy See is asking how we use these tools to spread the Good News,” Bishop Malesic said.

He carried the intentions of the people of the Diocese of Greensburg with him at daily Mass and to the tombs of the apostles.

“And I told the Holy Father that the people of the Diocese of Greensburg are praying for him, and they support his good works. He said, ‘Thank you, and continue to pray for me.’”


Bishop Malesic talks with a seminarian on the roof of the North American College. The dome of the Basilica of St. Peter is in the background.

Bishop Malesic stands in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, which was designed by Pittsburgh architect Louis Astorino.


Bishop Malesic takes Communion at Mass in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls Nov. 27.

Bishop Malesic, far left, stands with Pope Francis and the bishops of Pennsylvania and New Jersey at their meeting Nov. 28.


Subscribe today!