Friday, September 21, 2012

Monsignor James M. Lavin: Requiem!

Ordained priest in 1945.

He was 93.

The last of a generation.

Always the nicest guy.  And holiest.

He was the last of many priests over the years to live in Ireland Hall.  Would be nice to see another such priest there today, in residence.  But it would have to be one as meek as Jim Lavin.  To be there for the boys.  To be a presence.  To counsel.  Many a young man over the years knocked on his door with a need to talk.  The priest is a father to many.  He saved many lives.   

I will always remember the time he gave me his key to fetch something out of his room in the hallowed Ireland Hall.  As I opened the door, I saw his Gammarelli soutane hanging on the wall.  It was the room of a saint.  Humble.  There should still be a priest living there today, in that same suite.    

Msgr. Lavin was from the old school.  He never liked girl altar servers.  When yours truly was a young altar boy in the early 1990s, Msgr. came up to me after a funeral Mass and with his squinting grin, made this quip: "It's always better when boys serve the Mass."

I can still see his beat up old green bag he would keep his Mass stuff in. Or him in his monsignoral biretta at the closing of 40 Hours Devotions.  Or parking his car to carry his groceries up four flights of stairs with no students offering to help. 

Along with his former classmate, Msgr. Richard Schuler, we once went to visit Msgr. Lavin in the nursing home.  It was very sad to see him end up there.  Nursing homes are not happy places.  Who will take care of our priests in retirement?

Scooter, we will miss you: !

Thank you for having given your life to the Catholic education of boys and young men at STMA and the College of St. Thomas/UST.

It was not in vain.  Your sons are many.  


  1. Excellent tribute to Msgr. Lavin. He was a cheerful inspiration to students for many years.