Pope Francis has named Bishop Nelson J. Perez, Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre, N.Y., as 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio. He will be installed at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5 in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. The appointment was publicized in Washington D.C. on July 11, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.
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 St. 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 St. 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 St. William Parish, Philadelphia (2002-2009), and Pastor of St. 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 St. 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 St. 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 66 parishes. 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, 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 TeleCare TV Board.
As a part of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Perez serves as a member of the Bishops’ Standing Committee on Cultural Diversity, chair of the Bishops’ Sub-Committee for Hispanic Affairs, is the lead bishop of V Encuentro for Episcopal Region II, and is a former member of the Bishop’s Sub-Committee for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
A kind, joyous, and hard-working person, Bishop Perez enriches those ministries and people entrusted to his care. 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)