Students have “Dinner and Discussion” with Bishop Persico


Ashley Barletta, News editor

Mercyhurst students who are involved in Campus Ministry recently took a trip to St. Mark’s Catholic Center for a Dinner and Discussion with the bishop of the Diocese of Erie, Lawrence T. Persico. 

This is the first Dinner and Discussion that has been held for a long time as COVID made it hard for people to have larger gatherings. This made it especially exciting for those who had not attended a Dinner and Discussion prior to the pandemic, but also to those who had.  

The purpose of this particular discussion was so that young people in the Catholic Church could have their voices heard by those who have a big influence in the Catholic Church.  

Eventually, the discussion that was had will go to Pope Francis. His plan is to listen to as many people who are involved in the church as he can.  

The schools that attended were those in the Erie Diocese; Mercyhurst University, Gannon University, Clarion University, Allegheny College, Thiel College, and Penn State Behrend. 

Students who signed up to go received a ticket and made their way up to St. Mark’s Catholic Center, located on Grandview Boulevard. The Dinner and Discussion was held from 5-8 p.m. on April 1. 

The evening began with a small prayer service where those attending could reflect on both themselves as people and themselves as members of the larger Catholic community. 

Attendees were then led to the cafeteria where they could mingle with people from different schools. Part of the point of having the discussion was to get to know people from other Catholic communities so that everyone could share their own experiences. 

The other part of the evening was spent in small groups, answering some discussion questions. 

The discussion questions revolved around the Synod on Synodality, a two year process of listening and dialogue with each individual diocese and church, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  

After the discussion, attendees were able to ask questions to Bishop Persico. These questions could pertain to the discussion on the synod or any other arising questions that they may have had. 

One student asked, “What can the Catholic Church do better?”  

Bishop Persico’s answer was, “I thought this thing ended at eight.” 

He opted to give a synopsis of what the church can do better, beginning with listening. 

Listening was the biggest topic covered during the discussion because often, people are in such a hurry that nobody will stop and truly listen to one another.