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‘How do you say ‘thank you’ for such selfless giving?’

Msgr. Lawler to retire as Vicar General

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

March 13, 2013

With the announcement of the retirement of Monsignor Robert Lawler as the Vicar General olawlerf the Diocese of Ogdensburg, I thought it an opportune moment to reflect with you on the tremendous debt of gratitude that the Church of Ogdensburg and I owe to this devoted priest of God.

The North Country Catholic placed before us the biography of a man who continues to have a powerful impact on the Church we love.  Serving as the Vicar General of our Diocese, Monsignor Lawler has been the closest advisor and confidante of four bishops.  His thoughtful and wise counsel, always flavored with great pastoral sensitivity, has aided bishops in making difficult decisions. 

The tremendous love and respect that the priests of our Diocese have for Monsignor was evidenced when, not once, but twice, he was elected to lead our diocese as diocesan administrator when we bishop-less. 

This special service to the bishops and diocese all developed after thirty years of rendering remarkable ministry to the vulnerable in our North Country through his service and leadership at Catholic Charities. I am particularly reminded of the many couples who were blessed with children through Monsignor’s loving assistance in the adoption process.  Of course, this was all in addition to his ministry as pastor in several parishes over the years.

How much more can one man give?  How do you say “thank you” for such self-less giving? 

With his retirement as Vicar General, Monsignor can now stop adding to the hundreds of board meetings he has attended over the years.  While the meetings may come to an end, his priestly work doesn’t!  I am so grateful for his valued ministry at St. Joseph’s Home in Ogdensburg.  We all continue to seek his wise counsel and cherish his friendship. 

Join me in thanking Monsignor Robert Lawler for being such a kind, caring priest.  His genuine care for the most vulnerable among us leaves us with much to admire and imitate. 

We pray that God bless him with good health. During this time of transition in the Church universal and locally, we thank God for leaders such as Monsignor Lawler whose love of Jesus and service in His Name continues to inspire our own faith journeys. 

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