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 September 8, 2008. Today he serves in the Archdiocese as Regional Bishop of Union County, Vicar for the Archdiocese’s Hispanic Apostolate, and Rector of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.