On July 31, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI today named the Rev. Msgr. Lawrence T. Persico as the tenth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie. He will succeed Bishop Donald W. Trautman, S.T.D., S.S.L., and will be ordained and installed as bishop during a Mass at St. Peter Cathedral in Erie on Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 at 2 pm.
In the announcement at noon, Roman time, July 31, Pope Benedict XVI also accepted Bishop Trautman’s resignation, which was submitted following church protocol on his 75th birthday, June 24, 2011. Bishop Trautman will continue to lead the mission and ministries of the diocese as Bishop Emeritus until Bishop-elect Persico’s installation.
“The Benedictines of Saint Vincent Archabbey extend heartfelt congratulations to Bishop-Elect Persico, and the clergy, religious, and laity upon his appointment as tenth Bishop of the Diocese of Erie. Saint Vincent Seminary is proud that the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has chosen an alumnus of our Seminary to serve as the new chief shepherd of the Erie Diocese. He brings a great deal of wisdom and experience to his new ministry as Bishop. We assure Bishop-elect Persico of our continued prayers as he assumes this responsibility as the spiritual leader of Diocese of Erie,” said Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., Chancellor of Saint Vincent Seminary.
Bishop-elect Lawrence Thomas Persico, J.C.L., was born in Monessen, Pa. on November 21, 1950. He is the son of the late John B. and the late Helen Gush Persico. His brother, John E. Persico, lives in Monessen with his wife, Nira; he also has a late sister, Betty E. Angeline, as well as seven nieces and nephews.
He attended Saint Cajetan Elementary School in Monessen and St. Joseph Hall, the diocesan high school seminary in Greensburg, Pa., graduating in 1969. He earned a BA in philosophy in 1973 from Saint Pius X in Erlanger in the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, and graduated from Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa. in 1975 with a Master of Divinity degree.
Bishop-elect Persico was ordained a deacon on June 8, 1976 and served as deacon at Holy Family Parish in Latrobe, Pa. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Greensburg on April 30, 1977 by Bishop William G. Connare at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg. Following ordination to the priesthood, Bishop-elect Persico was appointed parochial vicar of Immaculate Conception Parish in Irwin, Pa.
In June of 1980, he was released from parish ministry to study canon law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC where he received the licentiate degree in 1982.
On Jan. 20, 1983, Bishop-elect Persico was appointed assistant chancellor, pro-synodal judge of the Tribunal and chaplain of Assumption Hall, the retirement home of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, Greensburg. He was named vice chancellor of the Diocese of Greensburg on Oct. 2, 1984 and on Feb. 11, 1988, was appointed chaplain of the Benedictine Sisters Monastery of Saint Emma, in Greensburg.
The new bishop-elect was appointed chancellor of the Diocese of Greensburg by Bishop Anthony G. Bosco on Sept. 18, 1989. On Jan. 27, 1998, he was appointed pastor of Saint James Parish in New Alexandria while continuing in his role as chancellor.
He has served as the bishop’s representative to the administrative board of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference since November 25, 1998.
Bishop-Elect Persico was named a monsignor with the title of Prelate of Honor to his Holiness by Pope John Paul II on Feb. 28, 2005.
On Aug. 4, 2005, Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt appointed him as vicar general, moderator of the curia, acting chancellor and the bishop’s delegate for clergy sexual abuse, while continuing as pastor of Saint James Parish.
Five months later, Bishop-elect Persico was elected vice president of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference for two, three-year terms, which concluded in 2011. He was invested as a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jersusalem on Oct. 2, 2010. And on June 1, 2012, he was reappointed as judge, defender of the bond and advocate of the Diocesan Tribunal by Bishop Brandt, while continuing in his roles as vicar general, moderator of the curia, acting chancellor, the bishop’s delegate for clergy sexual abuse and pastor of St. James Parish.
Bishop-elect Persico has been a member of the Canon Law Society of America since 1983 and is a member-at-large of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Order Sons of Italy in America.