New Greensburg bishop seeks to emulate Francis' focus on mercy

by Elise Harris

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Bishop-elect Fr. Edward C. Malesic. Credit: Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

The Vatican announced Friday that Fr. Edward C. Malesic of Harrisburg, Penn. has been nominated to lead the Greensburg diocese, a role he wishes to carry out by imitating Pope Francis’ compassion.

In a prepared April 24 statement Fr. Malesic said he was both honored and humbled by Pope Francis’ decision to appoint him as the fifth bishop of Greensburg, Penn., according to the Harrisburg diocese’s website.

The bishop-elect described the style that he wishes to lead with, saying that “In short, as Pope Francis said of himself, I too am a fellow sinner. But because I am a fellow believer I have also received the mercy of God.”

“I want to proclaim that. With God there is mercy and fullness of redemption,” he said, and thanked the people of the Harrisburg diocese for forming him in what it means to be a Christian.

Fr. Malesic, 54, will succeed Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt as the fifth bishop of Greensburg, after the latter submitted his resignation to Pope Francis last year having reached the age limit of 75.

Born in Harrisburg Aug. 14, 1960, the priest graduated from Central Dauphin East High School in 1978 and studied biology at Lebanon Valley College for three years prior to entering the seminary.

He then went on to study at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, where he received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1983, and a Master of Divinity in 1987.

Bishop-elect Malesic was ordained a priest for Harrisburg May 30, 1987, by then-bishop William H. Keeler.

After his ordination he served in various pastoral assignments in the diocese, the first being as assistant pastor of St. Theresa Parish, New Cumberland, Penn. until 1989. He was then assigned to St. Rose of Lima Parish, where he served in the same capacity.

While at St. Rose of Lima, Fr. Malesic also served as campus minister of York College of Pennsylvania. In 1992 he was appointed to full time campus ministry, and went on to serve for four years at Millersville University and later Franklin and Marshall College in nearby Lancaster.

In 1996 the bishop-elect was sent to study canon law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he received his licentiate in in the subject.

He has served the diocesan tribunal in various capacities, such as auditor, Adjutant Judicial Vicar and secretary for Canonical Services. In 2006 he was appointed as Judicial Vicar, which is a position he holds to this day.

The priest was appointed as administrator of Holy Infant Parish in York Haven, Penn. in 2004, and was later named pastor of the parish.

Fr. Malesic has overseen the parish for the past 11 years, and is currently in charge of the relocation and construction of a new church and parish center, scheduled for to conclude in 2016.

In an April 24 statement on the priest’s nomination as bishop for Greensburg, the current head of the Harrisburg diocese, Bishop Ronald Gainer, said that Fr. Malesic served has fulfilled his duties “with exceptional dedication and fruitfulness.”

He praised the bishop-elect’s “quick wit and exemplary commitment to priestly ministry,” saying that it will be a challenge to find someone to take his place.

Bishop-elect Malesic will be introduced at a news conference in the Bishop Connare Center in Greensburg at 10a.m. His episcopal ordination will take place July 13, 2015, at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg.

The Diocese of Greensburg was established March 10, 1951, and is composed of four counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. The diocese’s Catholic population is currently at 148,937 faithful in 78 parishes.

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