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Pope Francis Appoints Bishop Nelson Perez As Archbishop Of Philadelphia

Updated: 11:55 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 23

Bishop Nelson Perez is leaving Cleveland to become the Archbishop of Philadelphia.

It's a homecoming of sorts for Perez, who attended seminary in Philadelphia and was ordained there. The 58-year-old Perez is replacing Archbishop Charles Chaput, who is retiring.

“I’m back to the church, the Archdiocese that formed me, ordained me and walked with me, and eventually then set me forth,” Perez said at a press conference Thursday morning press conference in Philadelphia.

Perez has led Cleveland's Catholics for a little more than two years. At the July 2017 announcement of his appointment to Northeast Ohio, Perez said he was excited by the ethnic diversity of the eight-county Cleveland Diocese.

The Cleveland community has been welcoming and supportive, Perez said Thursday.

“I am sad to leave the people of Cleveland. I would be dishonest if I didn’t say that,” Perez said. “They welcomed me with open arms and great joy, and we walked together.”

Asked what he plans to do regarding dwindling attendance and financial issues facing some parishes around Philadelphia, Perez said he’s prepared to make hard decisions and enact change in his new role.

“We have to adapt to the world around us,” Perez said. “We do it ourselves, right?”

Perez will continue to head the Diocese of Cleveland until Feb. 18. Information on the future leadership of the diocese “is forthcoming,” according to a press release from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

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