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Pope names two auxiliary bishops for Rockville Centre diocese
By Kevin J. Jones
Bishops-designate Robert Brennan and Nelson Perez (L to R). Credit: Gregory A. Shemitz--The Long Island Catholic.
Bishops-designate Robert Brennan and Nelson Perez (L to R). Credit: Gregory A. Shemitz--The Long Island Catholic.

.- The Diocese of Rockville Centre on New York’s Long Island will receive two new auxiliary bishops following Pope Benedict XVI’s appointment of two priests who will be ordained for the diocese.

Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre welcomed the appointments.

“I wish to express my fervent thanks to the Holy Father for responding so quickly to my request for two auxiliary bishops to help me pastor this fifth largest diocese in our nation,” he said at a June 8 press conference with the bishops-designate.

“Dear friends, this is great news. We thank the Lord and his Blessed Mother. Praised be Jesus Christ!”

The bishops-to-be are Monsignor John Brennan of the Diocese of Rockville Centre and Monsignor Nelson J. Perez of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

“I hope and pray I am up to the task,” Bishop-Designate Brennan said. “I would like to especially thank the Holy Father who has extended this call to serve the Lord in a new way. I ask your prayers that I may offer to the Lord and you my joyful, humble loving service.”

Bishop-designate Perez addressed Bishop Murphy and the faithful of the diocese.

“I come to all of you with a deep love for the Lord, his Church, and a profound love for the priesthood, that I received as a wonderful gift 23 years ago,” he said.

“I am filled with excitement and enthusiasm to get to know my brother priests, deacons, religious and faithful of this great diocese and learn all I can possibly learn to serve you, with the grace of God, to the very best of my ability.”

Bishop-designate Brennan was born in New York on June 7, 1962 and ordained a priest in 1989. He has been a pastor in several parishes and served as private secretary to bishops of Rockville Centre. He has also served as vicar-general of the Diocese of Rockville Centre since 2002 and will continue in that position.

Bishop-designate Perez was born in Miami, Florida on June 16, 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1989. His parents were immigrants from Cuba. He has served at several Philadelphia-area parishes and taught at La Salle University and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. He also worked in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for Hispanic Catholics.

He will serve as vicar for the Rockville Centre diocese’s Eastern Region, filling the role of Bishop Peter Libasci who now heads the Diocese of Manchester in New Hampshire.

Bishop Murphy praised the new bishops.

“God has blessed this Diocese with good and holy priests and now two new auxiliary bishops, one a native son, the second, a Cuban American,” he said.

Bishop-designate Perez prayed “in a special way” for the Catholic Church in Philadelphia, which is witnessing severe financial difficulties and the trial of a senior church official accused of conspiracy and child endangerment for allegedly transferring sexually abusive priests to new parishes.

The bishop-designate prayed that God grant the archdiocese “the grace, the healing, and the wisdom to face the many challenges that it confronts.”

Bishop Murphy will ordain the new bishops at St. Agnes Cathedral on July 25.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre presently has two auxiliaries, Bishops John Dunne and Paul Walsh, who are both just months away from the retirement age of 75.

The diocese has 1.7 million Catholics in a population of 3.5 million, making it the fifth largest diocese in the U.S. It has 133 parishes, 369 priests, over 800 vowed religious, and 250 permanent deacons.

Tags: Bishop Appointment, Pope Benedict


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