Thousands of people across the country and around the world watched the live broadcast or listened on the radio as Bishop Nelson Perez was installed as the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland on Sept. 5.
Statistics show it was the largest online audience in the history of the Cleveland Diocese, with international viewers from as far away as Poland and South America watching the installation Mass. The liturgy also was broadcast across the country, attracting viewers from most states, including Hawaii.
More than 100,000 people viewed, commented or “liked” posts related to the liturgy and related events through social media platforms. Tens of thousands engaged on the live stream and/or still photos via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The numbers continue to grow as people watch the archived video, which is available HERE on the diocesan website.
Bishop Perez beamed as he walked through the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist with Father Don Oleksiak displaying his apostolic letter of appointment from Pope Francis.
The cathedral erupted with applause as Bishop Perez was handed his crosier and led to the cathedra. Once seated, he officially became the diocese’s 11th bishop. Witnessing the occasion were bishops from around the country, including retired Cleveland Bishops Richard Lennon and Anthony Pilla and Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Roger Gries, whom Bishop Perez called the “sort of retired auxiliary bishop.”
Here are some other highlights of installation day.
- Dozens of archbishops and bishops lined Superior Avenue and East Ninth Street to process into the cathedral when a sudden rainstorm hit, forcing them to retreat into the cathedral lobby, where they waited for a few minutes and reorganized before resuming the procession. The mood was jovial as they chatted and posed for photos.
- Bishop Perez acknowledged the huge audience watching and/or listening to the installation liturgy and took advantage of the opportunity to give his parents, David and Emma Perez, who were unable to attend, a personal greeting. He even waved to his mother.
- The bishop asked everyone to remember in prayer those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, as he led the Hail Mary.
- He also asked priests who were his seminary classmates and travelled to attend the installation Mass to stand and be recognized, as he quipped, “they know too much about me.”
- Priests of the Diocese of Cleveland also were asked to stand and be recognized for their service and hard work. He also noted how blessed we are to have 80 young men in formation for the priesthood at the diocesan seminary.
- During the Mass, Bishop Perez used a historic chalice from the diocesan archives that once was used by Bishop Amadeus Rappe, the first Bishop of Cleveland.
- The Barr family, including mom Tina and daughters Sierra and Sophia, were invited to attend both the Sept. 4 Solemn Vespers and Sept. 5 installation liturgy, as well as the subsequent receptions. Bishop Perez connected with the Barrs after reading a story about the sisters, who were seriously injured in a car crash last year, in Northeast Ohio Catholic, the diocesan magazine. He suffered serious injuries in a 31-car collision on the Long Island Expressway in December 2012, just six months after his installation as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York.
- Bishop Perez said he is excited to meet the priests and people of the diocese, to visit various areas of the diocese, to work collaboratively with everyone and to try the different foods.
- He also reprised the “Cleveland rocks!” statement, once again mentioning how excited he is to be here, before ending his homily with the following reminder: God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.”
- At a reception following his installation, Bishop Perez greeted hundreds of well-wishers and posed for photos with them, including 80 diocesan seminarians from Borromeo and Saint Mary Seminaries.