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Nelson J. Perez, a former pastor at St. William, will be Philadelphia’s next archbishop

Archbishop Charles Chaput will hold a news conference on Thursday at 10 a.m. to announce that Pope Francis has selected Cleveland Bishop Nelson J. Perez as his successor.

Archbishop-elect Nelson J. Perez. Courtesy Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Chaput is 75, the traditional age for bishops to retire.

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Perez, 58, was born in Miami and raised in North Jersey. He earned a psychology degree from Montclair State University and taught at a Catholic elementary school in Puerto Rico before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1989.

Perez was founding director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization, served as adjunct professor at La Salle University for 14 years, was a board member of the Philadelphia Protestant Home and Lawndale Neighborhood Revitalization Project and was heavily involved in ministry to Hispanic Catholics.

In 1986–87, he was assistant to the chaplain at the former Philadelphia State Hospital (Byberry). His first assignment after ordination to the priesthood was as parochial vicar at St. Ambrose, in Olney, from 1989–93.

Perez served as pastor at St. William from 2002-09, replacing the popular and long-serving Monsignor James E. Mortimer. After leaving St. William, he was pastor of St. Agnes in West Chester.

Later, he served as auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Rockville Centre in New York, from 2012-17. He’s headed the Cleveland Diocese since 2017.

Archbishop-elect Perez’s Mass of Installation will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. ••

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