In March 1870, Pope Pius IX appointed the Right Reverend Ignatius Persico, a learned and devout Italian missionary bishop who had been Vicar Apostolic of Bombay and Agra in British India, as fourth Bishop of Savannah. His new diocese, covering the state of Georgia, now had 20,000 Catholics and 30 churches. Bishop Persico inaugurated plans for building a new Cathedral, but he resigned the see for reasons of health in 1872 and returned to Italy. He was created cardinal by Pope Leo XIII on January 16, 1893, and died on December 7, 1895. He was the only Bishop of Savannah raised to the College of Cardinals.