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Bishop Persico to celebrate Mass of the Holy Spirit

Friday, September 5, 2014

Bishop Lawrence Persico

Bishop Lawrence T. Persico, JCL, will bless the start of the 2014-2015 academic year at Mercyhurst University when he celebrates the university’s traditional Mass of the Holy Spirit on Thursday, Sept. 11, at 11:15 a.m. in Christ the King Chapel.

This marks the first time that Bishop Persico has celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit since being named bishop of Erie’s Roman Catholic Diocese in fall 2012.

In addition to Bishop Persico’s homily, the Mass will feature music by the university’s Concert Choir and instrumental musicians and an interpretive dance by the Liturgical Dance Ensemble. As has become tradition, faculty members and students from around the world will take turns reading verses of the Pentecost Sequence in their native tongues.

Morning classes will be shortened on Sept. 11 and midday classes canceled to enable the whole community to participate in the Mass and in a picnic to follow. Weather permitting, the picnic will be served outdoors on the front lawn of Old Main, with entertainment by Mercyhurst’s new 60-member marching band.


Bishop Persico, a native of Monessen, Pennsylvania, holds a BA in philosophy from Saint Pius X in Covington, Kentucky, and graduated from Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe with a Master of Divinity degree.

He was ordained by Bishop William G. Connare in 1977 in Greensburg. In June 1980, he was released from parish ministry to study canon law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he received the licentiate degree.

The bishop was appointed chancellor of the Diocese of Greensburg by Bishop Anthony G. Bosco in 1989.  Nine years later he was appointed pastor of Saint James Parish in New Alexandria while continuing in his role as chancellor, assignments he kept until the announcement of his appointment to Erie.

Bishop Persico was named a monsignor with the title of Prelate of Honor to his Holiness by Pope John Paul II in 2005. That same year, Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of the Diocese of Greensburg appointed him as vicar general, moderator of the curia, chancellor and as the bishop’s delegate for clergy sexual abuse, while continuing as pastor of Saint James Parish.