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FutureChurch prays for Bishop Nelson’s success, healing for the Catholics of Philadelphia; urges Cleveland Catholics to voice their needs and desires for the next bishop of Cleveland

For Immediate Release: Monday, January 27, 2020
Contact: Deborah Rose-Milavec, Russ Petrus, Co-directors
(216) 228-0869

CLEVELAND, Ohio – FutureChurch prays for both Bishop Perez and the Catholics of Philadelphia as they begin their relationship and embark on a new journey together. Pope Francis’ decision to appoint Nelson Perez as Archbishop of Philadelphia was announced on January 23, 2020. He will be installed on February 18th.

“Bishop Perez’s pastoral approach to leadership came as a welcome change to Cleveland Catholics in the wake of years of pain and difficulty under the leadership of Bishop Lennon,” said Marie Graf, a Cleveland-area Catholic and Vice-chair of the FutureChurch Board. Bishop Richard G. Lennon ordered the closing of 50 parishes in 2009, had a notably contentious relationship with many priests of the diocese, and was the subject of an Apostolic Visitation in 2011. Twelve of the closed parishes appealed closure with the assistance of FutureChurch and won.

“In his brief time here, Bishop Perez helped to begin what will be an ongoing healing process for Catholics in Cleveland. And we pray that the people of Philadelphia will have the same experience” said FutureChurch Co-director, Russ Petrus. Perez replaces Archbishop Charles Chaput, whose legalistic approach – particularly when it comes to divorced and remarried Catholics as well as the LGBTQ Catholic community – has frequently put him at odds with Pope Francis.

Bishop Perez’s successor in Cleveland has not been named. “Cleveland Catholics are understandably concerned about the future leadership for the Diocese,” said FutureChurch Co-director, Deborah Rose-Milavec, “and FutureChurch urges them to make their pastoral needs and desires known.”

FutureChurch has developed a brief survey for Cleveland Catholics and will forward results to the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who plays a vital role in determining which candidates are presented to officials at the Congregation for Bishops and Pope Francis for consideration. Take the survey at

Those wishing to communicate directly with the Apostolic Nuncio can do so:

By email:

By phone:


By mail:

The Most Reverend Christophe Pierre

3339 Massachusetts Ave NW

About FutureChurch Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, FutureChurch seeks changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership. It is a national coalition of parish centered Catholics striving to educate fellow Catholics about the seriousness of the priest shortage, the centrality of the Eucharist (the Mass), and the systemic inequality of women in the Catholic Church. FutureChurch is a nonprofit organization that makes presentations throughout the country, distributes education, advocacy and prayer resources and recruits activists who work on behalf of its mission.