Mary Solberg

Bishop Persico meets Catholic young adults at Brewerie

Standing at a barrel “lectern,” Bishop Lawrence Persico
addresses the St. George Catholic Young Adult Ministry’s
Theology on Tap event at Brewerie at Union Station.
Photo/Mary Solberg
• “How do you prioritize your time?”
• “My friends are leaving the Catholic Church. Where can I go to learn more about what the church is doing to protect children?”
• “What is the best way to share our talents in a parish?”

These were just a few of the many questions fielded by Bishop Lawrence Persico at the Nov. 18 Theology on Tap event hosted by the St. George Catholic Young Adult Ministry in Erie.

More than 30 people, ages 21 to mid-30s, attended the event at Brewerie at Union Station. The bishop was Theology on Tap’s last featured speaker for the year.
His presentation, titled “The Day in the Life of a Bishop,” included an overview of his regular activities as bishop of the sprawling 13-county Diocese of Erie.
He also discussed his ad limina visit to meet with Pope Francis in Rome over Thanksgiving week. The trip includes pilgrimages to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul.

“It really gave us an opportunity to meet with the bishop in a setting we don’t typically have,” said Mandi Goodwill, a parishioner of St. Joseph Parish/Bread of Life Community in Erie.

She asked the bishop about the diocese’s response to the sex abuse crisis facing the church. Friends, she said, are ready to leave the church because of it.
“When I came here, I felt there was too much secrecy and we needed to open the door,” Bishop Persico said. “This isn’t over and we’re going to be dealing with it for the next 50 years.”

Goodwill said the bishop’s response to the crisis and his direction to share information on the diocesan website has been “valuable.”
She added, “I’m happy with the transparency that we have in our diocese.”

Also during the question-and-answer segment, Bishop Persico encouraged young adults to get involved in their parishes and turn to each other for direction.
He also shared that parish collaboration on important activities, like Theology on Tap and youth engagement, is crucial to keeping the faith alive.

Theology on Tap is an international program that invites young people to a bar and/or restaurant to discuss current topics related to religion or theology.
St. George and Gannon University, Erie, have chapters.