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Bishop Nelson Perez of Cleveland named by Pope Francis to succeed Archbishop Charles Chaput in Philadelphia; Feb. 18 installation

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Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland is pictured in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 16, 2019. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and has appointed Bishop Perez as his successor. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and has appointed Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland as his successor.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Archbishop Chaput, who has headed the Philadelphia Archdiocese since 2011, turned 75 last September, the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope. Bishop Perez, 58, was installed as the 11th bishop of Cleveland Sept. 5, 2017.

The resignation and appointment were announced in Washington Jan. 23 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

According to a statement posted at archphila.org, the archdiocesan website, Archbishop-elect Perez’s Mass of Installation will take place on Tuesday, Feb.18,  at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul at 2:00 p.m.

Bishop Perez, 58, was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1989. He served there for many years at the parish level with a keen focus on ministry to Hispanic Catholics before being named an Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 2012.

In July 2017, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Perez to serve as the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland.

Archbishop Chaput hosted Pope Francis in Philadelphia in 2015 at the World Meeting of Families.

Bishop Malooly of nearby Diocese of Wilmington said he was happy for Bishop Perez in his homecoming.

“He seems a deeply spiritual and very upbeat man. I look forward to once again being his neighbor to the south.”

The new archbishop said he was looking forward to returning to the archdiocese where he was ordained as a priest.

“I am deeply grateful to the Holy Father for this appointment and his confidence in me,” Archbishop-elect Perez said in a statement released by the Diocese of Cleveland. “It is with great joy tinged with a sense of sadness that I accept the appointment — joy that I will be returning to serve the archdiocese in which I was ordained to the priesthood … and sadness that I will be leaving an area and the incredible people in Northeast Ohio I have come to love deeply.”

He was born in Miami 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, New Jersey and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Montclair State University in 1983.

After entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., he earned Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in theology degrees in 1988 and 1989, respectively. He was ordained a priest for Philadelphia May 20, 1989.

He ministered as a parochial vicar at St. Ambrose Parish in Philadelphia; was assistant director of the archdiocesan Office for Hispanic Catholics; founding director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization; pastor of St. William Parish in Philadelphia; and pastor of St. Agnes Parish in West Chester.

His work in education included teaching psychology and religious studies at La Salle University and developmental psychology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

Named a monsignor by St. John Paul II in 1998 and a prelate of honor by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, he was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, in 2012.

As a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Perez is chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church and formerly chaired the Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs. He also served as the lead bishop for the V Encuentro process for the USCCB and is a former member of the Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

He currently serves as a member of the Administrative Committee and the religious liberty committee for the USCCB. In November 2018, he began a three-year term as the bishop liaison for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry.

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