Bishop Nelson Perez, right, shares a moment of gratitude with Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez during a visit to the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 2017. (DRVC Office of Communications file photo)
“The Diocese of Rockville Centre celebrates with the Archdocese of Philadelphia the news of Archbishop Nelson Perez’s appointment as the Archbishop of Philadelphia,” said Bishop John O. Barres in a statement released this morning.
“His deep spiritual life and creativity in evangelization, his national leadership in the 5th Encuentro and his rich roots in the Catholic Church of Philadelphia will result, with the intercession of St. John Neumann and St. Katherine Drexel, in a new and compelling era of bold evangelization,” he said.
“The Diocese of Rockville Centre and all of Long Island remembers Archbishop Perez’s ‘Joy of the Gospel,’ his contagious sense of humor and his pastoral spirit with great fondness and with great pride as we celebrate this historic day.”
The Vatican announced this morning that Pope Francis has selected Bishop Perez to succeed Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., who had turned 75, the retirement age for bishops, last September.
About Archbishop Perez
Nelson J. Perez was born in Miami, Florida, on June 16, 1961 to David and Emma Perez and is the brother of the late Dr. David Perez and Louis Martin Perez. He was raised in West New York, NJ. Bishop Perez earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Montclair State University in 1983. He taught at Colegio la Piedad, a Catholic elementary school in Puerto Rico, prior to entering Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where he earned Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theology degrees in 1988 and 1989, respectively.
Bishop Perez’s first assignment after ordination to the priesthood was as parochial vicar of Saint Ambrose Parish, Philadelphia (1989-1993). He also served as assistant director of the Office for Hispanic Catholics (1990-1993), founding director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization (1993-2002), pastor of Saint William Parish, Philadelphia (2002-2009), and pastor of Saint Agnes Parish, West Chester, PA (2009-2012).
His work in education included teaching courses in psychology and religious studies at LaSalle University, Philadelphia (1994-2008). Bishop Perez also taught Developmental Psychology at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary (fall, 2011), in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In 1998, he was named Chaplain to His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, with the title of Monsignor. In 2009, he was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict XVI appointed Msgr. Perez Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York on June 8, 2012. He was ordained a bishop on July 25, 2012 in Saint Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, by Most Reverend William Murphy, fourth bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
As Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Bishop Perez served as Episcopal Vicar for the Eastern Vicariate, representing the Diocesan Ordinary and overseeing 66 of the 133 parishes in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. He served as the Episcopal Vicar for Hispanic Ministry, overseeing 54 parishes with pastoral ministry to Hispanics; formation programs, and ecclesial movements.
In addition, Bishop Perez served as a member of the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s Priest Personnel Board and Presbyteral Council, a corporate member of Catholic Health Services; vice-chair of Catholic Charities Board of Directors and member of its Executive and Governance Committees, member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, chair of the Diocesan V Encuentro Planning Committee, chair of the Diocesan Advisory Committee for Hispanic Ministry, and was a member of the board of Telecare (now Catholic Faith Network), the Diocesan television station.
On September 5, 2017, Bishop Perez was installed as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland at a Solemn Mass in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Cleveland.
The Diocese of Cleveland comprises 3,414 square miles that include eight counties in northeast Ohio. It has a total population of 2,774,113 people of which 677,219 or 24 percent are Catholic.
As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Perez serves as Chair of the Bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, a member of the Administrative Committee of the USCCB, and a member of the Bishops’ Committee on Religious Liberty. He is former Chair of the Bishop’s Sub-Committee for Hispanic Affairs and former member of the Bishop’s Sub-Committee for the Campaign for Human Development.
Rooted in Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel”, Bishop Perez’s pastoral vision can be summarized as: “Church on Mission: Proactive, Involved, Supportive, Fruitful, and Joyful.”
(The Joy of the Gospel, # 24, Pope Francis)