Pastor's Column, July 16, 2017

The news just broke this Tuesday morning as I type this...we have a bishop! Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Nelson Perez as the 11th Bishop of Cleveland. Bishop Perez was born in Miami, Florida in 1961 and was ordained in 1989 in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He was named a Monsignor in 1998. (A Monsignor is an honorary title given to some priests to acknowledge some special work they have done in and for the Church (many used to call me Monsignor when I was in the seminary...either to acknowledge my unique giftedness or just to make fun of me...I’m not sure which but I suspect it was the latter).

In June 2012, Bishop Perez became the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York and received episcopal ordination (was made a bishop) at that time. Our Apostolic Administrator (acting and temporary) Bishop Daniel Thomas said that “the Diocese of Cleveland is receiving a faithful, enthusiastic and joyful shepherd for Christ and His Church. With his warm personality, Bishop Perez will endear himself to all who meet him.”

When the news was officially released this past Tuesday morning, Bishop Perez said, “I am so very happy to be with you, to learn from you, grow with you, and serve you with pastoral devotion. Please don’t hesitate to say hello, if you see me as I venture out, eager to experience my new home. God bless you all!”

The Diocese of Cleveland includes eight counties with 677,219 Catholics, which is 24% of the population. We warmly welcome Bishop Perez and will pray that he will walk with us in the journey of Catholic faith.

I spoke this past week with someone highly recommended by the Diocese regarding our boiler situation. While I’ll give more details to the members of our Parish Finance Council, I’ll let you know that we’re looking at about $200,000 to replace our church/rectory boiler, including the cleaning and repair of our HVAC system in the church, school & Parish Community Center. When we first started to discuss the need to replace our original boilers at our last Finance Council meeting, the question was raised as to whether we should have a fund raiser or special collections for this very large expense. It was wisely suggested that we use the money set aside for such expenses in our Capital Improvement Fund which people have been donating to for many years. I agree wholeheartedly with that recommendation. We thank you for your generous contributions to that fund over the years and are grateful that we have the funds necessary for what is arguably one of or the biggest expenses that a parish would have in regards to maintenance. Please continue to support us financially so that we may provide the necessary services that help us all grow in faith, love and service to God & others.