Hispanic community reacts to newly appointed archbishop of Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Nelson Perez is set to become the first Hispanic archbishop in the history of the Philadelphia Catholic Church.

On Thursday, Perez took time to address the community directly, by literally speaking their language.

"I am joyful and enthusiastic to get to know those veteran communities that are united and have been here for many years working with the church with such effort and passion," he said in Spanish.

It's moments like those that resonate with leaders in the Hispanic community, including Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez.

"I think of how I got goosebumps when Pope Francisco was here and spoke in Spanish and the ability for Spanish speaking parishioners and folks to embrace this historical moment is hugely important," she said.

Nelson is no stranger to Philadelphia. In his two decades of service in the area, he made a lot of friends.

"We worked together for about 10 to 12 years before he left, very kind person, studious person," said Esperanza Rev. Luis Cortes

"The expectations we have of Bishop Nelson are big because we know him we know of his background, we know of his commitments. I think he will be great for our city and our region," he added.

Hispanic business leaders in the city are also excited to meet the new archbishop.

"Having somebody of Spanish or Hispanic descent be a leader in the Catholic religion in the region I think is fantastic," said President of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Jennifer Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said with a Hispanic population that's vastly growing, census data roughly estimating 200,000 in the city, the new archbishop will be a great role model and a breath of fresh air for the Catholic Church.

"I think the Catholic Church really will see a lot of increased activity particularly form the Latino community," she said.

On Friday, Perez will visit the National Shrine of St. John Neumann in North Philadelphia. Later in the afternoon, Perez will meet with the young children from the Casa del Carmen Pre-school Academy.
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