Archbishop Nelson Perez walked through the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul holding up the translated scroll from the Vatican that appointed him to be the head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Perez publically took over from Charles Chaput in an installation Mass Tuesday. Perez told those in attendance that hope is all around, including for a recovery of faith in the church.
“The sad betrayal of some of our own who have deeply hurt some of those who they were called to serve, for which I and we are 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, referring to the widespread sexual abuse of children and others by priests and other religious leaders.
Spanish-speaking Catholics lined the outside of the cathedral, holding up welcome signs for the first Latino Philadelphia Archbishop before the installation Mass.
“I think what is important is that we are here to support any bishop that comes through. The fact that he happens to be Spanish is tremendous good news for all of us, given the immigrant population, the Latinos, more important is the fact that we get a new Archbishop,” said Marcio Enriquez. “It’s always exciting whenever there is movement, whenever a bishop is appointed. It’s always a sign for us that Christ is working, that Christ is moving.”
One of the readings during the Mass was in Spanish and the archbishop switched between English and Spanish on occasion.
Sister Cathy Stark, a nun from Elverson in Chester County, says it’s a big day for all 1.3 million Catholics in the Philadelphia region.
“We gather together as one people, to look towards the future, a future bright with promise,” she said.
Catholic Bishops and Archbishops flocked to the mass of installation, including Archbishop Roberto González Nieves of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Perez came out after the Mass to meet with those who came to wish him well. His predecessor, Chaput will now begin retirement with a 90-day vacation before assuming new duties as Archbishop-Emeritus. Upon his return, he will live at St. Edmond’s Home for Children in Bryn Mawr.