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David Lawrence, SJ

60 Years a Jesuit
Parochial Vicar at St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord, California

Father David Lawrence, SJ, is celebrating 60 years as a Jesuit. He currently serves as the parochial vicar at St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord, California.

Father Lawrence spent the first 15 years of his active ministry (1968 – 1983) teaching Spanish and music at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School in Houston. In 1983, he began a pastoral ministry at St. Rita Church in Dallas, serving as the church’s associate pastor and co-administrator. He also served as pastor for St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in Spring, Texas, from 1989 to 1996.

Father Lawrence earned a bachelor’s degrees in philosophy, secondary education and Spanish from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., and his master’s degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He also received a master’s degree in music education at the University of North Texas.

Father Lawrence’s Reflection on 60 Years as a Jesuit

The years of ministry pass before my eyes as I recall numerous joys and a few sorrows along the way. I could never have imagined the journey before me as I entered the Jesuit novitiate at Grand Coteau, Louisiana, in 1963. The joys of making new friends, time to ponder the riches of St. Ignatius Loyola, the spiritual realities of life, a rich treasure of guides like Jesuit Fathers John Edwards and Bobby Rimes, education, brilliant professors, liturgy and music in the chapel, classmates who stay in touch to this day enrich and bless my golden years.

Teaching high school students gave me a deeper understanding of the flow of human life, the dreams of young people, their goals, and my part in their lives. The community of hard-working Jesuits at Strake Jesuit in Houston coalesced into the will to survive as we rose from bankruptcy, a humble beginning to the remarkable school it is today.

Years in pastoral work at St. Rita Catholic Church in Dallas, baptisms, marriages, funerals, friends, the building of the new sanctuary, the challenges of a post-Vatican II Church kept me alert to the deeper meaning of what it meant to be Catholic and connected.

Years as a pastor at St. Ignatius Loyola in Spring, Texas, saw the emergence of a small suburban parish into a large vibrant community with ministries that touched thousands and their desires to know Christ and carry the good news out into the world. The fruits of early ministry continue to multiply there.

Years in California at another parish community of St. Bonaventure have brought me into more diverse cultures and spiritualities, Latino and Asian, and the complexities of progressive change by keeping my ear attuned to the differences and similarities of new peoples and ways of life. The Oakland Jesuits continue to be a source of faith and encouragement.

Gratitude rises up in my heart for the poor who held out a hand, sinners who bowed seeking forgiveness, the hungry who came to Eucharist, the sorrowful who lost loved ones, the friends and family who cared for me along the way. I am grateful for this good life.

Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. You have given all to me. To you, O Lord, I return it. All is yours, dispose of it wholly according to your will. Give me your love and your grace, for this is sufficient for me. ~ Ignatius Loyola