Northeast Times

Monsignor Perez to be bishop of N.Y. diocese

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Monsignor Nel­son J. Perez, former pas­tor at St. Wil­li­am Cath­ol­ic Church in Lawndale, last week was ap­poin­ted by Pope Be­ne­dict XVI as aux­il­i­ary bish­op of the dio­cese of Rock­ville Centre in New York.

Perez, 50, served as pas­tor at St. Wil­li­am from 2002-2009.

“I am humbled, but filled with great joy and grat­it­ude to our Holy Fath­er, Pope Be­ne­dict XVI, for call­ing me to serve the church as a bish­op,” he said. “It is cer­tainly not what I thought would hap­pen to me on the day of my or­din­a­tion. God’s ways and thoughts are not ours, but I know and trust that His ways are al­ways bet­ter than ours. I thank God for this awe­some priv­ilege. I also want to ex­press my deep grat­it­ude to Arch­bish­op Charles Chaput for his won­der­ful sup­port and fath­erly care, es­pe­cially upon my ap­point­ment.”

Perez, who’ll turn 51 on Sat­urday, was or­dained a priest for the Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia in 1989. He was found­ing dir­ect­or of the Cath­ol­ic In­sti­tute for Evan­gel­iz­a­tion, served as ad­junct pro­fess­or at La Salle Uni­versity for 14 years, was a board mem­ber of the Phil­adelphia Prot­est­ant Home and Lawndale Neigh­bor­hood Re­vital­iz­a­tion Pro­ject and has been heav­ily in­volved in min­istry to His­pan­ic Cath­ol­ics.

“Pope Be­ne­dict XVI’s ap­point­ment of Bish­op-elect Perez con­tin­ues a long and gen­er­ous tra­di­tion of ser­vice to the uni­ver­sal church by priests from the Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia,” said Arch­bish­op Charles J. Chaput. “It also demon­strates the Holy Fath­er’s con­fid­ence in Bish­op-elect Perez, who has served our arch­diocese and its people with faith­ful de­vo­tion for many years. Bish­op-elect Perez has a joy­ful and down-to-earth per­son­al­ity, an ob­vi­ous love for the priest­hood and a tire­less de­vo­tion to his min­istry. Know­ing how much he is loved by those he serves makes the sac­ri­fice of los­ing him to an­oth­er dio­cese all the great­er.”

The an­nounce­ment was made Fri­day at a news con­fer­ence in Rock­ville Centre.

Perez cel­eb­rated Mass that morn­ing at St. Ag­nes Cathed­ral. He will be or­dained a bish­op on Ju­ly 25 at St. Ag­nes by Bish­op Wil­li­am F. Murphy. Chaput will be a co-con­sec­rat­or.

Perez was born in Miami. He at­ten­ded pub­lic schools in North Jer­sey. He gradu­ated with a psy­cho­logy de­gree from Montclair State Uni­versity and taught at a Cath­ol­ic ele­ment­ary school in Pu­erto Rico be­fore en­ter­ing St. Charles Bor­romeo Sem­in­ary.

In 1986-87, he was as­sist­ant to the chap­lain at the former Phil­adelphia State Hos­pit­al (By­berry).

His first as­sign­ment after or­din­a­tion to the priest­hood was as pa­ro­chi­al vicar at St. Am­brose, in Ol­ney, from 1989-93.

In 2002, he re­placed the pop­u­lar and long-serving Monsignor James E. Mor­timer at St. Wil­li­am. Mor­timer, who at the time called Perez a “bril­liant young man,” re­cently cel­eb­rated his 60th year in the priest­hood and re­mains pas­tor emer­it­us at St. Wil­li­am.

After leav­ing St. Wil­li­am, Perez has been pas­tor of St. Ag­nes in West Chester.

Monsignor Robert J. Bren­nan, the vicar gen­er­al for Rock­ville Centre, was also ap­poin­ted aux­il­i­ary bish­op for that dio­cese, which con­sists of 1.4 mil­lion Cath­ol­ics in Nas­sau and Suf­folk counties.

“I wish to ex­press my fer­vent thanks to the Holy Fath­er for re­spond­ing so quickly to my re­quest for two aux­il­i­ary bish­ops to help me pas­tor the fifth-largest dio­cese in our na­tion,” Bish­op Murphy said. “God has blessed this dio­cese with good and holy priests and now two aux­il­i­ary bish­ops, one a nat­ive son, the second, a Cuban-Amer­ic­an who will bring his many gifts and his Latino lan­guage, cul­ture and her­it­age to en­rich this won­der­ful dio­cese.” ••

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