It’s been just a week since Bishop Nelson Perez was installed as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland and he literally hit the ground running in his effort to reach out, be accessible and learn more about his new flock.
In addition to his daily meetings and administrative work as head of the diocese, the bishop has a full schedule of pastoral and public events. He embraced news media requests for interviews in the days before and after his installation, candidly answering questions and expressing his excitement about being the new bishop.
On the pastoral side, Bishop Perez said he is excited to meet and care for the faithful of the diocese, since that is “what a bishop does.” He was the celebrant at the Sept. 9 opening Mass at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe. The Mass was attended by seminary faculty and some staff, as well as those in priestly and diaconate formation and those studying for certification as lay ecclesial ministers.
After Mass, Bishop Perez chatted with seminarians, diaconate candidates and others, posed for photos and enjoyed lunch.
Later that afternoon, he made the short trip to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in Euclid where he celebrated Mass at the conclusion of the Faith & Light Cleveland Pilgrimage of Hope. Attendees included many people with disabilities, their families and friends from around the diocese. They were excited to meet him and have pictures taken after Mass.
Those attending the 10:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Masses at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on Sept. 10 were surprised to see Bishop Perez as the celebrant. He said he was available to celebrate the liturgies and it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to do so.
On Sept. 11, he met with priests, shared dinner with them and celebrated Mass for the 18 parishes in the Southwest Suburban District of the diocese at St. Basil the Great Church in Brecksville. After Mass, hundreds of people stood in line – some for more than an hour — for a chance to greet the bishop and have a photo opp.
His calendar also includes dozens of other events in the next few weeks, including Mass at the diocesan V Encuentro on Sept. 16 at Sagrada Familia Parish in Cleveland, more meetings, dinners and Masses with priests and parishioners in the Lorain, Cleveland Central West/Cleveland Northwest, Wayne/Ashland/Medina, Cuyahoga Suburban West, Lake/Geauga, Cleveland Central East/Southeast, Summit North/South, Cuyahoga Suburban East and Cuyahoga Suburban Southeast districts, and an address to the First Friday Club of Greater Akron.