A Latino Bishop For Long Island

On Long Island, a place with a growing Latino population that is known for its racial strife, the area’s first Latino auxiliary bishop has been designated, La Tribuna Hispana reported. The article is translated from Spanish below. 

Monsignor J. Nelson Perez (Photo via La Tribuna Hispana)

As if in answer to the enormous Hispanic congregations that have attended Long Island’s Catholic churches for decades, the Rockville Centre Diocese announced that it will have the first Latino auxiliary bishop in its history. The diocese serves some 1.5 million Catholics, a growing number of whom are of Hispanic origin.

The diocese said that on June 8, Pope Benedict XVI granted the designation of Monsignor Nelson J. Pérez, 50, who is currently the pastor of Saint Agnes Church in West Chester in Philadelphia. He is also the founding director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization, and has been instrumental in the ministry for Hispanic Catholics, said the archdiocese in a written release.

Born in Miami, Pérez grew up in West New York, New Jersey, and was ordained as a priest in 1989. He has been parish vicar of Saint Ambrose Parish in Philadelphia (1989-1993), Director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization (1993-2002), and pastor of Saint Williams Parish in Philadelphia (2002-2009).

At the same time as Pérez was named auxiliary bishop, another the bishop-elect was also named. Robert Brennan was born June 7, 1962, grew up in Lindenhurst, graduated from St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School, received his university degree from St. John’s University, prepared for the priesthood at the Immaculate Conception Seminary, and was ordained a priest by Bishop McGann on May 27, 1989. In 2002 he assumed the position of Vicar General of the Rockville Centre Diocese, a position he continues to fill while he serves as parish priest at Saint Mary of the Island Church in Long Beach.

Both bishops-elect gave thanks to His Holiness Benedict XVI for extending to them this call to continue serving God in new ways, while Bishop William F. Murphy gave them a warm welcome to the Diocese of Rockville Centre, which covers 133 Catholic parishes in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Monsignor Pérez will be ordained as a Bishop by Bishop Murphy in the Cathedral of Saint Agnes in Rockville Centre on July 25 of this year.

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