GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) – For Bishop Edward C. Malesic, word that Rome chose him to leave the Diocese of Greensburg to become the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland was something he didn’t see coming.

“Oh no, no completely off my radar. I’ve only been here for 5 years,” Malesic told KDKA.

The leader of the Roman Catholic Faithful in Westmoreland, Fayette, Indiana and Armstrong counties said his time here, while relatively short, has been challenging.

“I think the challenge is always the same, and that’s get the message of the gospel out, especially in a culture that doesn’t always accept the gospel message,” he says.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Increasing the number of priests in the diocese and bringing people back into the faith as well as expanding the church’s communication via social media and the internet were also major objectives.

The thing he holds as his team’s greatest accomplishment is saving souls and saving the lives of those battling addiction: “Bringing more awareness to the opioid crisis, letting them know what it’s about, what signs to look for, how to get help and not stigmatize it.”

There have been fun times, like when a staff member’s young child got a hold of a phone and repeatedly Face Timed him in the pre-dawn hours and how a young seminarian nearly caught his vestments on fire with a hot charcoal incense pot.

KDKA’s Ross Guidotti asked the 59-year-old what words of advice he would offer to his successor.

“We have a good team in place. The next person who comes here needs to listen to them and formulate his own strategy moving forward,” Malesic said.

Bishop Malesic will be installed as the new bishop of Cleveland on Sept. 14. His successor will be appointed by the Pope, and that could take anywhere from 6 months to a year.