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Archbishop Chaput retires; pope names Bishop Perez successor


  • Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland is pictured in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 16, 2019. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and has appointed Bishop Perez as his successor. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland is pictured in an undated photo. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and has appointed Bishop Perez as his successor. (CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of Cleveland)
  • 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. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and has appointed Bishop Perez as his successor. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
  • Pope Francis greets Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia during a meeting with U.S. bishops from New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican Nov. 28, 2019. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Chaput and has appointed Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland as his successor. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
  • Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is pictured in a June 13, 2018, photo. Pope Francis has accepted Archbishop Chaput's resignation and has appointed Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland as his successor. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

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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.

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 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.

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 Bachelor of Arts degree 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.

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.

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Matthew Gambino in Philadelphia contributed to this story.

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