ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – June 8, 2012 – Pope Benedict XVI has appointed two priests, Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Brennan, 50, and Rev. Msgr. Nelson J. Perez, 50, – as auxiliary bishops of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States, made the announcement public earlier today in Washington, D.C. Bishop-elect Brennan is from the Diocese of Rockville Centre and currently serves as vicar general. Bishop-elect Perez is from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and is the pastor of Saint Agnes Church, West Chester, Pennsylvania.
The Most Rev. William Murphy, bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre will ordain the new bishops at a Mass of Episcopal Ordination to be celebrated at Saint Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, New York on July 25, 2012, the Feast of Saint James the Apostle.
“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 the fifth largest diocese in our nation,” said Bishop William Murphy. “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 who will bring his many gifts and his Latino language, culture and heritage to enrich this wonderful Diocese.”
The Most Reverend Robert J. Brennan was born on June 7, 1962, in the Bronx. He was raised in Lindenhurst, New York. where he attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School. He continued his education at Saint John the Baptist Diocesan High School, West Islip. He then graduated from Saint John’s University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. He then studied for the priesthood at Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, New York where he holds a Master’s of Divinity degree.
He was ordained May 27, 1989, by Bishop John McGann at Saint Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, New York. His priestly assignments include associate pastor at Saint Patrick parish, Smithtown (1989-1994); Secretary to the Bishop (1994-2002). In 2002, Bishop-elect Brennan was named Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia. In 2010, he was appointed pastor of Saint Mary of the Isle parish, Long Beach, New York.
“I am honored and humbled that the Holy Father extended this call to serve the Lord in a new way,” said Bishop-elect Brennan. “I have learned so much from Bishop Murphy and I can never thank him enough for his kindness to me.”
Bishop-elect Brennan was named a Prelate of Honor by Blessed John Paul II in 1996. He speaks English and Spanish.
The Most Reverend Nelson Perez was born in Miami, Florida on June 16, 1961. His parents are Cuban Americans who left Cuba that year and now reside in Florida. Bishop elect Perez studied at Montclair State College. He prepared for priesthood at St. Charles Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was ordained a priest on May 20, 1989. In 1998, Father Perez was named Chaplain to His Holiness Pope John Paul II with the title of monsignor. In 2009, he was made a prelate of honor. Bishop-elect Perez is currently the pastor of Saint Agnes Parish, West Chester, Pennsylvania and has served in various positions within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
“I thank God that I begin this new journey of my service to the Church along with you,” said Bishop-elect Perez. “Two weeks ago, I had the joy of celebrating the Feast of Pentecost at the parish where I serve as pastor, which by the way, is St. Agnes, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The theme of my homily was “God is a God of surprises”. Little did I know then that two days later, I would be receiving a surprise phone call from our Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Vigano, informing me that the Holy Father had appointed me auxiliary bishop of Rockville Centre. Needless to say, I was stunned! For the last week, I have been walking around waiting for another call telling me that there had been some sort of mix up, but that call never came and the surprise has continued and thus I find myself here today among you.”
As auxiliary bishops, they will join Auxiliary Bishop John C. Dunne, Episcopal Vicar of the Central Vicariate and Bishop Paul H. Walsh, Episcopal Vicar of the Western Vicariate in assisting Bishop Murphy to serve the sacramental, spiritual and pastoral needs of the 1.4 million Catholics who reside on Nassau and Suffolk counties.
About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre (www.drvc.org) was formed in 1957 and covers 1,198 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1,737,498 baptized Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.4 million). There are 134 parishes (1 campus parish) in 115 towns. In 2010, 16,318 baptisms, 16,296 confirmations, 17,123 First Holy Communions and 4,773 marriages took place in the diocese. There are 18,496 students in Catholic elementary schools; 12,328 students in Catholic high schools and 3,500 students in higher institutions. There are 53 Catholic elementary schools (49 parish or regional and 4 private), 10 high schools (3 diocesan, 2 parish and 5 private) and one Catholic college in the diocese. Catholic Health Services (CHS) of Long Island is comprised of six hospitals, three nursing homes, a regional home care and hospice network, and a community-based agency for persons with special needs. More than 17,500 employees and 4,600 credentialed physicians work within the CHS system. In 2010, Catholic Charities assisted more than 53,500 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. (05/12).
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