Bishop Murphy looks on as Bishop Perez greets Pope Francis

DATE: July 11, 2017

RE: Pope Francis’ Appointment of Bishop Nelson J. Perez as the Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland

FROM: Most Rev. William Murphy, bishop emeritus, Diocese of Rockville Centre

Today Pope Francis has named Bishop Nelson Perez, one of the three auxiliary bishops of our Diocese, to be the next Bishop of Cleveland (Ohio). This is great news although somewhat bittersweet for all of us here on Long Island who have come to love him and appreciate how much he has become a part of us.

A few years ago, I asked Pope Benedict to provide us with a bishop from the Latino communities to assist me in caring for this growing population on Long Island. I never dreamed we would receive such a gifted and life-giving priest. At a minimum, Bishop Nelson brought a new consciousness to us regarding the dynamic Latino communities that stretch across Nassau and Suffolk. But he never limited himself to one group or one tradition. He embraced us all. He is a true example of a missionary disciple.

Now he goes to Cleveland, one of the most storied and historical dioceses of the mid-west with almost 700,000 Catholics. This is a great pastoral challenge. Yet we all know that he has all the resources, human, spiritual and pastoral, to be the Pastor the faithful of Cleveland need. We will always thank God for his years with us. So much has he influenced this Church for the better.

For me personally it will be the loss of a brother whom I love. For us all, we wish him Godspeed as we send him to his new Diocese with the promise of our prayers, our gratitude and our support for him. Dear Bishop Nelson, May the Lord who has begun the good work in you bring it to perfection.