Bishop Nelson J. Perez prepares to take over Diocese of Cleveland

Posted at 11:17 AM, Sep 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-05 18:03:19-04

For only the 11th time in the 170 year history of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, services will be held Tuesday to install a new bishop.

Bishop Nelson J. Perez was named to the post by Pope Francis on July 11 replacing Bishop Richard Lennon, who retired in December for health reasons.

Formal installation services will take place Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on East 9th Street in Cleveland.

The installation services will begin with the presentation and reading of the apostolic letter by Pope Francis in July appointing the 56 year old Perez as head of the Cleveland Diocese.

After reading the letter the Papal Nuncio or the Pope’s representative Archbishop Christophe Pierre of France and Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati will lead Bishop Perez to the Bishop’s Chair or Cathedra where he will be presented with the Pastoral Staff or crosier, which is the symbol of the ministry leader for this diocese of 677,000 Catholics.

Around 50 church leaders from across the country including Long Island and Philadelphia, where Bishop Perez spent his life as a priest before being named to this post, have traveled to Cleveland for the installation. After which Bishop Perez will take place in the first official mass in what is essentially his new parish.

Bishop Perez was ordained in May, 1989 in Philadelphia. In 2002 he became pastor of his first parish, St. William, in the city’s Lawncrest section, a working class neighborhood where Perez’ plain spoken approach to pastoral leadership was well received.

In 2009 he took the helm of St. Agnes Parish in West Chester, PA where he served until 2012, the year Pope Benedict XVI auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre New York.