Home Our Diocese Bishops Barres, Malooly feel spirit of Archbishop Nelson Perez; ‘great for addressing...

Bishops Barres, Malooly feel spirit of Archbishop Nelson Perez; ‘great for addressing problems and not alienating people as he does it’ — Photo gallery

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Bishop Malooly joins procession of bishops outside the pastoral center in Philadelphia. Dialog photo/Joseph P. Owens

PHILADELPHIA — Archbishop Nelson Perez has many old friends who know him well in his new home in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, where he was ordained a priest and also served for more than 20 years.

He also has at least one who worked as a leader in the Diocese of Wilmington.

When Bishop John O. Barres arrived in 2016 as bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, then-Bishop Perez was already there as an auxiliary bishop in the diocese. The two bishops worked together until 2017 when Pope Francis appointed the Rockville Centre auxiliary as bishop of Cleveland. Bishop Barres was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Wilmington and served as its chancellor and later was named bishop of the Diocese of Allentown, another neighbor to Philadelphia.

“Archbishop Perez is the consummate evangelizer,” Bishop Barres said moments before entering the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia for the installation of the new archbishop.

“He’s in a certain sense a global missiologist,” Bishop Barres said. “His leadership in the fifth enquentro with the beautiful evangelization of our Hispanic community has been an incredible inspiration. He has a great charism for addressing problems and not alienating people as he does it. It’s really extraordinary.

“I also think that he’s a son of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. St. John Neumann and St. Katharine Drexel are interceding for him. And it’s such an exciting moment for the archdiocese, the church in this country and globally.”

While headlines have focused on the homecoming after 23 years as a priest in the archdiocese, Bishop Perez has had two stops since, in Rockville Centre and Cleveland, where he led the diocese. Bishop Barres said his work at the two additional places will help the archbishop.

“He had experiences in Long Island and Ohio. He comes back with just an incredible perspective. We’re really proud of him.”

Bishop Malooly said Archishop Perez greeted each bishop at lunch at the diocesan pastoral center in the city before the installation.

“It fits with Pope Francis, the theme of joy and hope,” Bishop Malooly said of the appointment of Archbishop Perez. “It’s the power of the Holy Spirit. He’s joyful, upbeat, just what we need in the church.

“It was very uplifting. It provided a great sense of spirit and enthusiasm.”