Bishop-designate Nelson Perez celebrated Mass with Toledo Bishop Daniel Thomas, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Cleveland, today after his appointment as the new leader of the diocese was announced. Pope Francis made the selection and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio for the United States, announced the appointment early today.
The Mass was a high point in a busy day for both bishops.
Bishop Thomas was the principal celebrant of the noon Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist; Bishop Perez was a concelebrant and homilist.
A replay of the Mass is available at the conclusion of this article.
The Mass, which was streamed live on the Diocese of Cleveland website, attracted a large crowd of faithful, several of whom said they were excited about the appointment of a new bishop and wanted to mark the occasion by attending the Mass.
The bishop-designate drew a chuckle from the congregation when he said that he had prepared a 45-minute homily.
“God is good,” he said, “all the time,” the congregation answered. “And all the time,” he said, “God is good,” they replied.
Bishop Perez talked about encountering the Lord. “He encounters us where we are. We’ve all had encounters with Christ,” he said. “People will say ‘I found this out . . .’ but they really don’t find things out. The Lord finds us. He looks in our hearts with great compassion.”
He said we are instruments of encounter, compassion and great joy.
“And I finished in three minutes,” he quipped, drawing another chuckle from the congregation.
At the conclusion of Mass, Bishop Thomas asked those gathered to pray for Bishop Perez so that he would be filled with every grace and blessing.
The sun was shining as both bishops stood outside the cathedral greeting and posing for photos with members the faithful and others who were passing by on East Ninth Street.
“Please pray for me,” one woman asked Bishop Perez.
“I will,” he said, “but you please pray for me, too.”
After Mass, Bishop Perez planned to visit with diocesan employees at Cathedral Square Plaza.