The Most Reverend Manuel A. Cruz, D.D., Titular Bishop of Gaguari and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, was born in Havana, Cuba on December 2, 1953 to the late Juan and Caridad Cruz.
He came to the United States in 1966 with his parents, spending a year in Florida before moving to Union City, NJ. There he attended Union City public schools.
Bishop Cruz is a graduate of Seton Hall University and studied for the priesthood at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington, NJ. He was ordained a priest for service in the Archdiocese of Newark on May 31, 1980 — the first Cuban-born priest ordained in the Archdiocese. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and a Master of Arts degree in Sacred Scripture from Seton Hall University.
Following his ordination in 1980, Fr. Cruz served as a parochial vicar at Holy Rosary Parish in Elizabeth. In 1982, he was appointed a parochial vicar at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Newark. In 1986, he was appointed to the Archdiocesan Vocations Committee. From 1991 to 1993, he served as Dean of Deanery 19, Northern Newark.
In 1995 he became a chaplain at Saint Michael’s Medical Center and later was named director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Pastoral Care in 2003. In this position, he directed the full range of Catholic chaplain and pastoral care services at all hospitals and medical centers within the Archdiocese.
In 2000, Pope John Paul II bestowed upon Fr. Cruz the honorary title Chaplain to His Holiness, with the title Monsignor.
In 2005, Newark Archbishop John J. Myers named Msgr. Cruz vice president for Mission and Ministry for Catholic Health and Human Services, the health care and social services arm of the Archdiocese.
He has served as a member of the Institutional Review Board of several New Jersey hospitals, as a member of the Ethics Committee of Saint Michael’s Medical Center, and as a member of the New Jersey Catholic Conference’s Committee on Ethics, and is a lecturer in neuropathology at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark.
On June 9, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI named Msgr. Cruz Titular Bishop of Gaguari and an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark. His episcopal ordination was held on Sept. 8, 2008. He serves in the Archdiocese as Regional Bishop of Essex County, and Vicar for the Archdiocese’s Hispanic Apostolate.
Coat of Arms
Archbishop Cruz has chosen a single word for his motto: “Caritas,” the Latin word for charity. His personal coat of arms is composed of a shield — the central and most important part of the design — and a scroll with his motto and external ornamentation.
“Caritas” is the goal toward which Bishop Cruz has directed his priestly ministry, especially his pastoral care work in the healthcare ministries throughout the Archdiocese of Newark.
The motto also has a special significance to the bishop, for it is the name of his mother (Caridad) who, with husband Juan, brought the family to the United States from Cuba in 1966.
As a bishop without canonical jurisdiction (an auxiliary bishop), Bishop Cruz’s personal arms occupy the entire shield. The arms are composed of a silver (white) field on which is placed a red Latin cross to utilize His Excellency’s name (Cruz), which is Spanish for “cross.”
Upon the cross is a blue “M.” The letter is taken from the arms of Saint Pope John Paul II and is the monogram of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom Bishop Cruz has a deep and profound devotion. It also recognizes Our Lady as the patroness of Immaculate Conception Seminary, where Bishop Cruz studied for the priesthood.
The coat of arms is completed by external ornamentation, which consists of a gold processional cross placed in the back of the shield extending above and below the shield.
The pontifical hat, a “gallero” with its six tassels in three rows on either side of the shield, are all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate with the rank of bishop by instruction of the Holy See on March 31, 1969.
Coat of Arms designed by Deacon Paul J. Sullivan, Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island