St Mel Parish

Welcome!

Welcome to the website for Saint Mel Parish, Cleveland, Ohio. It is a pleasure to have you visit our site and it would be a blessing to us if you could join us in worship and prayer.

Founded in a developing part of the west side of Cleveland following the Second World War and serving growing families as they were established in the area, Saint Mel parish is centrally located in the West Park area of the city of Cleveland. As this dynamic area has changed over the years, the community of Saint Mel parish now consists of primarily older adults and smaller families.

After a proud tradition of Catholic education spanning sixty years, Saint Mel school closed in 2009.

Wherever you may happen to be, please join with the Saint Mel parish family in giving thanks and praise to God for the blessings which continue to be bestowed on its members, families and graduates.


Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Thirty-Second Sunday of the Year – November 11, 2018

1 Kings 17: 10-16Hebrews 8: 24-28Mark 12: 38-44

 

Today we hear different accounts about widows. In themselves, these accounts offer to us examples of individuals whose actions we can seek to imitate. Both women are clearly destitute. But they willingly give of themselves from what little they had. The widow from Zerephath extended hospitality to a stranger. The widow at the Temple offered what little she had to benefit the ministry of the Temple. These examples are obvious sources of comment and reflection. But I have chosen to look at these examples in a little different way. They offer to us not simply the idea of imitating their actions or their behavior, but the consideration that we can recognize that in their lives they reveal God and, importantly, an understanding of God.

 

Jesus commends the woman at the Temple for quietly giving from the last that she had. She did this in a way that she did not receive the recognition that so many others both craved and then made a point of being acknowledged. What we can realize is that the woman’s total generosity also describes God’s total generosity towards us and towards our world that is particularly embodied in and exemplified by Jesus Christ. It is a total generosity that is to be continued in us as the Body of Christ in the world, as the Church in our world. So often we count the cost of what we might do. So often we look for some return, some recognition, some recompense. The widow received none of that. How often does it happen that the continual generosity of God’s love receives a fitting return or appreciation from us? Quite frequently it is just the opposite. Nonetheless, the totality of God’s love does not cease. We can count on God’s presence with us at all times, as we can count on God’s presence with us now in the Eucharist.

 

The account of the widow of Zerephath is even more striking. She is a foreigner. A stranger comes to her and asks her to share the very last of what she has. She gives of it freely and willingly. The return to her is a continuous supply, a continuous presence. Freely and willingly God gives life and the many benefits of life to us, even when we might be estranged from God for any reason, even despite the frequent ingratitude or rejection we show in our failure and sin. What is our proper response? It is to accept this generosity and to allow it to sustain us in life. In addition, we are to reflect that same persistent generosity in our own lives and actions.

 

The widows about whom we heard today can be seen as much more than simple examples in themselves. They are genuine reflections of God’s actions on our behalf. As good examples as the widows might be in their own actions, so much more ought we to see them as sources of insight into God’s loving kindness and generosity toward us. We are also to realize that each of us, in some way or another, can reflect and reveal the generosity of God. We are to reflect, not grudgingly, not looking for recompense or return, but gratefully and freely making known our faith and our trust in our good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Thirty First Sunday of the Year – November 4, 2018

Deuteronomy 6:2-6 Hebrews 7:23-28 Mark 12:28b-34

 

I suppose I can be accused of being a bit biased, but I have found reading through the Gospel of St Mark this year to be particularly enlightening. I have found this to be especially so with respect to the structure he uses in order to present the Good News of Jesus Christ.

 

In both getting to know who Jesus is in the first part of his Gospel and in understanding what being his disciple means, the teaching of Jesus, in the manner that St. Mark presents it, adds a twist to what had been or what might have been expected.

 

Such is the case today when Jesus is asked what is the first commandment of the Law. He repeated what had been heard in the reading from Deuteronomy, the basic statement of Jewish faith,“The “Shema Yisrael. . .” “Hear, O Israel. . .”

 

The learned Jewish questionnaire agreed with the response Jesus gave. But Jesus, as before, added a commandment also found in the Old Testament, in the Book of Leviticus: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In doing so, he virtually places it on the same level, with the same status, as the first commandment. Or, if not that, at least he is making it apparent that the complete and correct understanding of the love of God included the demonstration of that love by love of neighbor.

 

So often it comes down to the question not who is my neighbor – Jesus answers this clearly in the story of the Good Samaritan – but what does it mean “to love” my neighbor. Perhaps this is difficult because we equate “love” with a romantic or emotional or a feeling sense. It is necessary to pull back from such notions. The first step to recognize is that there is a need for genuine respect for the neighbor, for all persons. The second step is then to acknowledge that all persons possess dignity as all persons are part of humanity like ourselves and are creatures of God. Respect that is to be shown and the acknowledgment of the dignity of a person, is about the person and not, necessarily, about the actions of a person.

 

Every person, any person, by the simple fact of a shared humanity, is deserving of respect and an acknowledgment of dignity no matter who or what they are, no matter what they may possess or not possess materially, physically, mentally or spiritually, no matter their background, heritage or status. As human beings they are, as we all are, made in the image of God.

 

For those who profess a Christian faith, all humanity shares in this dignity and is thus worthy of respect even more so because of the fact that God chose to share in humanity in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Such is the understanding that underlies the teaching of the Letter to the Hebrews. We are all in a relationship with God because Jesus Christ – the High Priest – achieves reconciliation between God and humanity.

 

To love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, all our strength, and to do so truly and genuinely, requires that we also love, respect, and accord dignity to our neighbor. That is the teaching Jesus proclaims today in Gospel of Mark and that is evidence we give of a genuine faith in our good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Twenty-Ninth Sunday of the Year – October 21, 2018

Isaiah 53:10-11 Hebrews 4:14-16 Mark 10:35-45

 

Earlier this week, when I was thinking through God’s message to us in today’s Scriptures, the soaring rhetoric of almost sixty years ago echoed in my mind: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” As memorable as those words have been, especially to us who recall first hearing them, to me they also embrace the sentiment which we have heard today.

 

Putting together his summary of the Gospel message, Saint Mark has offered us a number of considerations to ponder. What we heard today is a clear description of what a committed disciple, a dedicated follower of Jesus, is to understand about the values he has taught us to live out in our lives.

 

Before that, however, we heard a brief passage from the prophet Isaiah. Perhaps the words were a bit shocking. Infirmity, affliction, suffering were seen as the acceptable lot of God’s Servant. It is not a pleasant thought. It almost seems as if God seeks to impose pain on us. That is not the case, however. What this message of the prophet indicates is that it is through pain and suffering that a greater good will be accomplished: the greater good of restoration and justification. Through suffering a genuine reconciliation between God and mankind will be achieved.

 

This is precisely what the mission of Jesus Christ sought to accomplish for us. God coming into the world in the person of Jesus Christ and offering himself, giving himself totally, won atonement for us. As the High Priest in the Old Covenant offered sacrifice to atone for sins, so now, in a greater sense, Christ, the new High Priest, gives of himself for the greater good of all mankind and then defeats death through his Resurrection. This is done so that we might live in a reconciled union with God and with one another.

 

If we want to understand and appreciate what Jesus calls us to do in life, we must realize that we are to guide and lead one another by service to one another. It is in service to one another that we recognize the goodness that we possess. It is in service to one another that we begin to experience in ourselves and in others the meaning of the love of God and the love of neighbor. It is in service to one another that we overcome what is most destructive and detrimental in human relationships and in life – self-centeredness and selfishness.

 

A basic lesson that we learn from the Scriptures is that God’s on-going and unending effort is to reach out in love for us This is epitomized in the person of Jesus Christ and in his giving of himself for mankind and thus being the servant of all humanity. This is what we are to reflect by a commitment to service to others. Rephrasing the words of almost six decades ago, we can understand Jesus calling on us to ask ourselves: what can others gain from me, not what can I gain from others. How might we be of service to others, not how can others be of service to me.

 

Even if nothing else, what others ought to be able to gain from each of us through our service to them is an acquaintance with and an awareness of a lived faith and a genuine trust in a truly good and gracious God.