Who is Bishop Nelson Perez? Facts about new Cleveland Catholic Bishop

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Pope Francis named Bishop Nelson Perez as Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland. The appointment was announced Tuesday, July 11, 2017.

  • Bishop Perez was the Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre, New York
  • Born in Miami June 16, 1961
  • Earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Montclair State University in 1983
  • Taught at Colegio la Piedad, a Catholic elementary school in Puerto Rico
  • Earned Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theology degrees in 1988 and 1989
  • Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1989
  • Named a chaplain to His Holiness by Pope John Paul II in 1998 and Prelate of Honor in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI
  • Named Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in June 2012
  • Received Episcopal Ordination on July 25, 2012

After the Bishop was introduced to the Cleveland community in a morning news conference, he sat down with Paul Orlousky to talk joy, faith and culture.

"My joy is rooted in my faith," said Bishop Perez. "We can't have funeral faces. Sometimes we look as if we're coming out of a funeral and we're not. We're people of hope."

Cleveland is a diverse area and Bishop Perez says reaching out to all people has been his mark as a priest.

"Everywhere I have served has been very diverse and multicultural, which I know is a mark of the Catholic church," said Bishop Perez. "To be Catholic is to be universal."

Bishop Perez knows a priority of the Catholic Church is to reach out to the younger generation through social media.

"The Church is certainly moving out to reach them. The Church has to encounter people where they are and walk with them from where they are," said Bishop Perez.

Bishop Perez is taking over after the retirement of Bishop Richard Lennon in 2016.

Until Bishop-designate Perez's installation as Bishop of Cleveland, Bishop Daniel E. Thomas will continue leading the diocese as its Apostolic Administrator. Bishop Thomas is the bishop of the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio.

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