My Dear Parishioners,
As we prepare for the season of Lent (Ash Wednesday is on Feb. 26th), we are collecting your old blessed palm branches. As you probably know, they will be burned in order to make the ashes that will be used for the start of the Lenten season. Please place your palm branches in the basket in the back hallway, beneath the crucifix. Please take the palm out of any bags or wrappers, rubber bands, etc., so that only the palm will be burned.
This is a big week for the church of Philadelphia. On Tuesday, our new archbishop will be installed. It is especially exciting for me because he is my classmate! I studied with Archbishop Perez at St. Charles Seminary and was ordained with him in 1989. The following is some information that I took from the Archdiocesan website about our new Archbishop.
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. Archbishop Perez earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Montclair State University in 1983. He entered Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where he earned Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theology degrees in 1988 and 1989, respectively.
He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on May 20, 1989. Father 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). Father 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 Reverend Monsignor Nelson J. 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, NY by Bishop William F. Murphy.
As Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY, Bishop Perez served as Episcopal Vicar for the Eastern Vicariate, representing the Diocesan Ordinary and overseeing sixty-six parishes. He served as the Episcopal Vicar for Hispanic Ministry, overseeing fifty-four parishes with pastoral ministry to Hispanics; Formation Programs, and Ecclesial Movements.
In addition, Archbishop Perez served as a member of the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s Priest Personnel Board, Presbyteral Council, 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 formerly a member of the Diocese’s Catholic Faith TV Network board.
Bishop Perez was appointed by Pope Francis as the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland on July 11, 2017. He was installed at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist on September 5, 2017.
As a part of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Perez serves as chair of the Bishops’ Standing Committee on Cultural Diversity, former chair of the Bishops’ Sub-Committee for Hispanic Affairs, served as the lead Bishop for the V Encuentro process for the USCCB, and is a former member of the Bishops’ SubCommittee for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Archbishop Perez currently serves as a member of the Administrative and the Religious Liberty Committees for the USCCB. In November, 2018, Bishop Perez began a three-year term as the bishop liaison for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM).
On January 23, 2020 Pope Francis appointed him the 14th Bishop and 10th Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
A kind, joyous, and hard-working person, Archbishop Perez enriches those ministries and people entrusted to his care. Rooted in Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel,” Archbishop 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)
May God Bless You,