Why He’s Interesting: Malesic was installed as the 12th bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland last September, which has the sixth largest Catholic Charities operation in the country. His warmth, quick laugh and down-to-earth way of speaking underscore his upbringing in a factory town near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. And his handling of the sex abuse scandal in Pennsylvania attests to his commitment to transparency and honesty.
The Call: The thought of entering the ministry had never occurred to Malesic — until he was 19 years old and at a Catholic retreat. “I was walking around the parking lot and I simply looked up and said, ‘Oh, you want me to be a priest.’ It doesn’t always happen like that, but to me it was very clear.”
At stake: While serving as the bishop of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, he addressed the past abuse in his diocese by apologizing for the cover-ups of his predecessors and releasing a list of all 22 credibly accused priests. “Evil tries to creep into even the best institution. You have to always be on your guard against evil no matter who you are. And you have to be transparent. You have to get things out there and do the best you can.”
Small Acts: Malesic is most impressed by small acts of kindness that occur in everyday lives. “I’ve been around so many big leaders and big things, but it’s the little things that impress me, like nurses who pray with their patients who have COVID.”
True North: Malesic’s advice for achieving true happiness comes from acknowledging that you have a purpose in this world, and letting prayer and reflection guide you. “You’re here for a purpose. Find out what it is. You can also ask a friend what are the gifts and talents you have that you may not see.”
One Goal: Although much of America remains divided, Malesic keeps returning to the idea that God is a uniting force and people are banding together despite their differences. “The good sign is that there are people who are united. I see so much creativity in the work of charity. Charity never stops.”
Three And Out:
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?: [Former Cleveland bishop] Anthony Pilla told me to be kind to people.
What is your most treasured item?: A relic with a few strands of Pope John Paul II’s hair.
What’s one thing people don’t know about you?: I was a biology major.