It was announced today in Rome that Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Reverend Monsignor Nelson J. Perez as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York. Bishop-elect Perez, age 50, was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1989. In addition to service at the parish level as a parochial vicar and pastor since that time, Bishop-elect Perez was also the Founding Director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization and has been heavily involved in ministry to Hispanic Catholics.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. said, “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. 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.
As Bishop-elect Perez prepares to begin his episcopal ministry, I offer him heartfelt congratulations and pray that the Holy Spirit will strengthen him as a successor of the Apostles. I’m confident that he will be of great service to Bishop William Murphy and all of God’s people in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. They are fortunate to receive such a gift from the Holy Father in the person of Bishop-elect Perez.”
This morning, Bishop-elect Perez is at a news conference in Rockville Centre, where his appointment is being announced. He will be ordained a bishop on July 25, 2012 in Saint Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre by Bishop William F. Murphy. Archbishop Chaput will be a co-consecrator.
In a statement Bishop-elect Perez said, “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. 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. I come to all of you in the Diocese of Rockville Centre with a deep love for the Lord, His Church, and a profound love for the priesthood. I am filled with excitement and enthusiasm to get to know my brother priests, deacons, religious and the faithful of this great diocese and learn all I can to serve you, with the Grace of God, to the best of my ability.”
Nelson J. Perez was born in Miami, Florida, on June 16, 1961 to David and Emma Perez and is the brother of Dr. David Perez (deceased) and Luis Martin Perez. He attended P.S. Number 4 and Memorial High School in West New York, New Jersey. Bishop-elect Perez earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Montclair State University in 1983 and taught at Colegio La Piedad, a Catholic elementary school in Puerto Rico, prior to entering Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. There he earned a Master of Arts and a Master of Divinity Degree in 1988 and 1989 respectively.
Bishop-elect 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); the Founding Director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization (1993-2002); pastor of Saint William Parish, Philadelphia (2002-2009) and currently as pastor of Saint Agnes Parish, West Chester.
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.