Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez was named by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America on March 10. He is the only American prelate among the five new members of the 15-member commission, formed in 1958, “whose primary function is to ‘advise and help the particular Churches in Latin America’ on behalf of the Roman Curia at the Vatican, according to the commission’s website. The archbishop’s statement follows:

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Archbishop Pérez named to Vatican panel for Latin America

Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez

With a heart full of joy, I learned that Pope Francis has appointed me to serve as a member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

This Commission, which was established by Pius Pope XII on April 21, 1958, (is) currently under the direction of Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who served as Archbishop of Quebec until being appointed President of this Commission and Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

This Commission is made up of bishops from around the world who have been tasked by the Holy Father with studying the Church in Latin America and working to provide it with every possible assistance.  Our brothers and sisters in these countries often face challenges to their faith life that are unimaginable in the United States including extreme poverty, intimidation by organized crime, and lack of transportation.

I express my deep gratitude to Pope Francis for his confidence in my ability to provide counsel and serve the best interests of the faithful in Latin America. I look forward to working with the other members of the Commission and ask for your prayers as I embrace this role new role in service to the broader Church.

May God bless all of you and your Lenten journeys abundantly.

+Most Reverend Nelson J. Pérez
Archbishop of Philadelphia

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The other new members of the commission are Cardinal Orani João Tempesta, archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro; Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra, archbishop of Madrid; Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera López of Monterrey; and Archbishop Luis José Rueda Aparicio of Bogotá. Learn more here.