PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An era is coming to an end as Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput celebrated his final Sunday mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. His successor, Archbishop-Elect Nelson Perez, takes over on Tuesday.
Perez will become the first Hispanic to lead the archdiocese’s nearly million-and-a-half Catholics.
Parishioners prayed for Perez at mass on Sunday two days before he’ll be installed as the 10th Archbishop of Philadelphia.
Pope Francis selected Perez last month.
“In with the new. It’s going to be fantastic,” Theresa Healy, of Collegeville, said.
The faithful cannot wait to witness history.
“Perez was our pastor at St. Agnes,” Bill Dolan said. “He had the ability to bring the best out of everybody in our parish.”
Dolan says he plans to attend Tuesday’s ceremony.
More than 2000 people are expected to show up, including archbishops from across the country.
CBS3 has learned Perez officially arrived in Philadelphia on Friday, but he has been spending a quiet weekend with family in preparation for Tuesday.
“It’s important for the new archbishop to get out and evangelize and be a force for Catholics. The issue with pedophile priests has been a real drag on the church. It’s time to move forward from that and make sure it never happens again,” Julius Santise said.
Santise is also hoping Perez can increase church membership.
Parishioners are looking forward to what the new archbishop will bring to the community
“We are really fortunate to have him back here in the area again,” Dolan said.
Doors will open for the installation mass at the cathedral at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon and the installation mass will begin at 2 p.m.
There will be an Eyewitness News Special for the Installation of Nelson Perez starting at 1:30 p.m. on CBSN Philly.