Bishop Lawrence Thomas Persico was born in Monessen, Pennsylvania on November 21, 1950. He is the son of the late John B. and Helen Gush Persico, and brother of the late Betty E. Angeline. His brother, John E. Persico, lives in Monessen with his wife, Nira. He also has several nieces and nephews.
He attended Saint Cajetan Elementary School in Monessen and Saint Joseph Hall, the diocesan high school seminary in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1969. He earned a B.A. in philosophy in 1973 from Saint Pius X Seminary, Erlanger, Kentucky, and graduated from Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 1975 with a Master of Divinity degree.
Bishop Persico was ordained a deacon on June 8, 1976 and served as deacon at Holy Family Parish, Latrobe. 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 Bishop Persico was appointed parochial vicar of Immaculate Conception Parish in Irwin, Pennsylvania.
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 his licentiate degree in 1982.
On January 20, 1983, Bishop 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 October 2, 1984, and on February 11, 1988 was appointed chaplain of the Benedictine Sisters Monastery of Saint Emma in Greensburg.
He was appointed chancellor of the Diocese of Greensburg by Bishop Anthony G. Bosco on September 18, 1989. On January 27, 1998, he was appointed pastor of Saint James Parish in New Alexandria, Pennsylvania while continuing his role as chancellor.
He served as the bishop’s representative to the administrative board of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference from 1998-2012.
Bishop Persico was named a monsignor with the title of Prelate of Honor to His Holiness by Pope John Paul II on February 28, 2005.
On August 4, 2005, Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt appointed him 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, he was elected vice president of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference for two 3-year terms which concluded in 2011. He was invested as a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem on October 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 role as vicar general, moderator of the curia, acting chancellor, the bishop’s delegate for clergy sexual abuse and pastor of Saint James Parish.
Bishop Persico was appointed Bishop of Erie on July 31, 2012 by Pope Benedict VI. On October 1, 2012, he was ordained and installed as the 10th Bishop of the Diocese of Erie.
He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Saint Mary’s Seminary and University, Baltimore, Maryland; the Board of Regents of Saint Vincent Seminary, Latrobe; the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference; and is the Chairperson of the Gannon University Board of Trustees, Erie, Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the administrative committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, elected to represent Region III.
Bishop Persico has been a member of the Canon Law Society of America since 1983; a member-at-large of the State Lodge of Pennsylvania, Order of the Sons of Italy in America; and a 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus.