By Tim Harfmann
Archbishop Nelson Perez was officially installed as the new Catholic leader of Philadelphia on Feb. 18.
Nearly 2,000 people packed the city’s Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, as Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Pope’s ambassador to the United States, read the official letter from the Holy Father.
“We release you from the bond of your former See, and we appoint you metropolitan archbishop of the Catholic church of Philadelphia of the Latins,” Pierre read.
Archbishop Perez processed through the cathedral basilica with Francis’ signed letter on display.
The cleric is the son of Cuban immigrants and was ordained a priest of Philadelphia.
He succeeds retiring Archbishop Charles Chaput, who escorted him to the bishop’s chair.
In his homily, Archbishop Perez said he is hopeful for the future of the church.
“Never underestimate the power of the Spirit of God working in you, through you and despite you,” said Perez.
He also prayed victims of sexual abuse turn to the church for guidance.
“I, and we, are ever so deeply sorry to these victims; and we continue to work with hope that we will make it right and be a source for them of healing,” Perez said.
Archbishop Perez is a former Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre, and in 2017, was assigned to the Cleveland Diocese.