Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) —  Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and has appointed Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland as his successor. All of the dioceses of Pennsylvania, including the Diocese of Erie, are part of the Philadelphia Province.  

Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland smiles during a news conference
after Pope Francis appointed him bishop of Philadelphia Jan. 23, 2020.
CNS photo/Sarah Webb,

Archbishop Chaput, who has headed the Philadelphia Archdiocese since 2011, turned 75 last September, the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope. Archbishop Perez, 58, was installed as the 11th bishop of Cleveland Sept. 5, 2017.

The resignation and appointment were announced in Washington Jan. 23 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. 

The new archbishop said he was looking forward to returning to the archdiocese where he was ordained as a priest. 

"I am deeply grateful to the Holy Father for this appointment and his confidence in me," Archbishop Perez said in a statement released by the Diocese of Cleveland. "It is with great joy tinged with a sense of sadness that I accept the appointment — joy that I will be returning to serve the archdiocese in which I was ordained to the priesthood ... and sadness that I will be leaving an area and the incredible people in Northeast Ohio I have come to love deeply." 

Archbishop Perez will be installed in ceremonies set for 2 p.m., Feb. 18 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. 

He was born in Miami 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, New Jersey and earned a BA in psychology from Montclair State University in 1983. 

After entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, he earned Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in theology degrees in 1988 and 1989, respectively. He was ordained a priest for Philadelphia May 20, 1989. 

Pope Francis greets Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland during
a meeting with U.S. bishops from Ohio and Michigan making
their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican Dec. 10, 2019.
CNS photo/Vatican Media 

He ministered as a parochial vicar at St. Ambrose Parish in Philadelphia; was assistant director of the archdiocesan Office for Hispanic Catholics; founding director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization; pastor of St. William Parish in Philadelphia; and pastor of St. Agnes Parish in West Chester.

His work in education included teaching psychology and religious studies at La Salle University and developmental psychology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. 

Named a monsignor by St. John Paul II in 1998 and a prelate of honor by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, he was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, in 2012. 

As a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Perez is chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church and formerly chaired the Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs. He also served as the lead bishop for the V Encuentro process for the USCCB and is a former member of the Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. 

He currently serves as a member of the Administrative Committee and the religious liberty committee for the USCCB. In November 2018, he began a three-year term as the bishop liaison for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry. 


Matthew Gambino in Philadelphia contributed to this story.