Fr. Lawrence Gerard O’Brien Born 1923 Beekeeper, Forester, Nunraw 1946-1965 Ordained 1949 Parish Ministry, Cardiff Archdiocese 1965 - 1999 Died Feast of Annunciation, 25 March 1999 Lawrence Gerard O’Brien was born in Dublin 1923. He entered the Cistercian Order at Roscrea and was one of the founding members of Nunraw Abbey in 1946. He was Ordained priest at Nunraw in 1949. As a monk he was a great ‘out-doors man’. He set up the apiary and was the abbey beekeeper until 1959. But even more challenging was the work he had as forester. He established several new plantations of trees. He needed heavy machinery in the clearing of old woodlands, and could be called upon, with this powerful equipment, to assist in construction at the building of the new abbey. He suffered a severe back injury when a tree trunk fell on him in 1964. He took up pastoral ministry in the archdiocese of Cardiff in 1965. He died in St. Joseph’s Nazareth House, Cardiff, on the Feast of the Annunciation, 25th March 1999. The Principal Celebrant at the funeral Mass was Archbishop John Aloysius Ward, OFM Cap., who gave the following homily. FATHER LAWRENCE O’BRIEN Funeral Homily - “priestly life and ministry”. Gerard O’Brien was born in Dublin in 1923 into a family of good hardworking parents They had four children, two sons and two daughters One sister is with us this morning, as she has been for the days preceding his dying and since. The other sister is a Poor Clare Colettine in Dublin. To them and other relations. we offer our deepest sympathy and our gratitude for a family that fostered and supported the vocation of Father O’Brien. That vocation led him to embrace the contemplative life. As a Cistercian Monk, his religious name was Lawrence. He was ordained priest in 1949 for the Monastic Community in Nunraw, Scotland. After more than 20 years as a monk, he came to the Archdiocese of Cardiff in 1965 and was incardinated by Archbishop Murphy in 1968 He served in various parishes, such as Port Talbot and Ely. and St Brigid’s in Cardiff Then he was appointed to Monmouth as parish priest. In 1991 he was transferred to the parish of Risca until 1997 when illness indicated he needed long term care in this hospital The Archdiocese is extremely grateful to the Sisters of St Joseph for the loving care given to Father Larry. His health improved. but never to the extent that he could return to parish duties. He did whatever he could to exercise his priesthood, not least in celebrating Mass daily for the benefit of Sisters, Staff and Patients of this hospital The Sisters would take him to Diocesan functions which pleased him and us so much. His two years here were years of new growth in holiness and priestly virtues They were years of preparation for the response, on the Feast of the Annunciation, to the call of the Lord, "Magister Adest Et Vocat Te’’ He went to his God at peace with himself. confident in the love and mercy of God Today, the Archdiocese wishes to thank the parishioners of Risca and Monmouth for the loyalty. support and encouragement they gave Father O’Brien. The death of a priest touches all of us. Through the Mass and the Sacraments he has entered the lives of so many generations of God’s People. His preaching on the Word of God will have produced fruits that have enriched people’s lives We know that, more importantly God knows it since It is God who gives the increase to priestly life and ministry May God give Father Larry O’Brien Eternal Rest Note Archbishop Ward was in daily contact with Fr. Lawrence during the weeks of his dying. Cancer of the lungs had been detected and the cancer quickly moved and the end came quite swiftly. He was a good priest there is no doubt about that but there is a sense in which he never fully settled in to the Presbyterate of the Archdiocese At heart he remained a Cistercian Monk and spoke about his life as a Cistercian quite often during his last weeks. He was very much loved by the people of his parishes who were very devoted to him He died peacefully, attended by some of the Sisters, on the Feast of the Annunciation, 25 March 1999 The Requiem Mass took place in the Hospital Chapel which is quite large and was attended by a capacity crowd of former parishioners, Sisters and nurses and clergy. The funeral took place in the Hospital where he died. His burial was in Cardiff itself, in Cathays Cemetery where he is buried in the area in which bishops and priests have been buried over the years.