Pope Francis named Archbishop Nelson J. Perez of Philadelphia as a member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

In a statement released March 10, the Vatican announced the appointment of several new members of the commission, including Archbishop Nelson, Brazilian Cardinal Orani Joao Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro and Spanish Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid.

The commission was established in 1958 by Pope Pius XII. It is tasked with advising and helping "the particular churches in Latin America" as well as studying "questions that refer to the life and progress of said churches."

In a series of tweets published after the appointment was announced, Archbishop Nelson expressed his gratitude to Pope Francis and said he looked forward to helping address the issues facing Latin Americans, "challenges to their faith life that are unimaginable in the United States, including extreme poverty, intimidation by organized crime, and lack of transportation."

Archbishop Nelson said he was grateful 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," he tweeted.