Fr. Lawrence Mann
FATHER LAWRENCE MANN, SM
The Marianist Province of the United States recommends to our fraternal prayers our dear brother, LAWRENCE MANN, priest, of the Cupertino Marianist Community (Cupertino, California), who died in the service of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 1, 2016, in Cupertino, California, USA, at the age of 100 with 83 years of religious profession.
Over the course of his long ministry, Father Larry served the Society of Mary and the Church as a high school teacher, pastor and campus minister. He was beloved as a mentor and counselor, and will be long remembered for his intellect and good humor.
Lawrence Anthony Mann was born on August 1, 1916, in Cleveland, Ohio. He was one of five children in the family of Andrew and Emma (Barteline) Mann. Young Larry attended Cathedral Latin School and, inspired by the Marianists he met there, entered the postulate at Mount Saint John in Dayton, Ohio, in 1930. He was joined by his brother, Leonard, who was one year his senior. The Mann brothers professed first vows together on August 15, 1933, at Mount Saint John.
Father Larry earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Dayton in 1936, and began teaching later that year at Purcell High School (now Purcell Marian High School) in Cincinnati, Ohio. He professed perpetual vows in Dayton on August 8, 1938.
Father Larry taught at Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York, in the early 1940s before entering the seminary at St. Meinrad in Indiana. (World War II prevented him from attending the Marianist seminary in Fribourg, Switzerland.) He was ordained at St. Meinrad by Archbishop Joseph Ritter – later Cardinal Ritter – on August 26, 1945.
In 1946, in what must have been a startling shift of surroundings, Father Larry was sent to teach at Saint Louis College (now Saint Louis School) in Honolulu, Hawai’i. During this time, he ministered briefly at Moloka’i, which was then an isolated leper colony. He would later refer to it as “a grace never forgotten.”
After three years in Hawai’i, Father Larry returned to New York to begin studies for a master’s degree in philosophy at Fordham University, which he completed in 1951. For the next two years, he again taught at Saint Louis College in Honolulu.
From 1954 – 1957, Father Larry was a teacher and chaplain at the new Chaminade High School in metropolitan Los Angeles, California. “Father Larry was by far the best high school teacher I ever had,” said Father Ted Ley. “When I had him for religion class, he decided to get rid of the textbook, and he taught mostly using Time magazine. He connected Catholic social justice teaching to current events.” Father Ted credits Father Larry with encouraging his vocation to the Marianists and said that, even decades later, he was still learning from his beloved mentor.
Father Larry served briefly as chaplain of St. Joseph High School in Alameda, California. Then in 1958, he returned to Hawai’i, where he was assistant pastor at Holy Family Parish in Pearl Harbor. He remained there until 1962, when he began a one-year stint as an adjunct professor of philosophy at Chaminade College in Honolulu.
For the next two years, Father Larry ministered at the Carmel Mission Basilica in Carmel, California. He assisted during the absence of Bishop Harry Clinch, who was attending the Second Vatican Council.
Now in his late forties, Father Larry returned to Hawai’i and to Holy Family Parish, where he would serve as associate pastor and pastor for 25 years, beginning in 1964. He was a popular figure in the parish, well-loved for his homilies and for his leadership in retiring the parish’s debt. Brothers who lived in community with him during this time recall evening gatherings on the back steps overlooking the Palolo Valley, where Father Larry taught them about the stars that sprawled across the Hawaiian sky.
In late 1988, at age 72, he was welcomed back to California and to Chaminade High School – now the coeducational Chaminade College Preparatory – to serve as chaplain, celebrating Masses and leading retreats. Brother Francis “Skip” Matthews lived and worked with Father Larry during this time. “Larry was never in a hurry – he would always make time for a young person who needed him,” said Brother Francis. “I know of at least three times when he was able to walk a student through a very difficult life situation.”
Occasionally, Father Larry would return to Holy Family Parish during the summer months to visit his former parishioners. In 1995, he traveled back to his home state of Ohio, to attend the funeral of his brother, Brother Leonard Mann, who died at age 80 after a long career as a mathematics professor at the University of Dayton.
In 2004, Father Larry moved to the Cupertino Marianist Community, where even though he was almost 90, he was an active, engaged member of the community. He had the chance to reconnect with Father Joseph Stefanelli, who had been a student of his during his very first teaching assignment at Purcell High in the 1930s.
Father John Putka also lived with him there, and said he connected with Father Larry as alumni of Cathedral Latin School. “But it was as a fellow brother that I loved him the most,” said Father John. “He was a solid Marianist with a deep faith and a great devotion to our Blessed Mother. I heard many stories of his life as a teacher, pastor and homilist, and many times wished that I could have known him in his prime.”
In a reflection for his 70th jubilee, Father Larry wrote: “I rejoice with the brothers in the wonder of being alive in our marvelous world. My ‘widow’s mite’ of service is my gift to a compassionate God. God does write straight with crooked lines. Gratias!”
May he rest in peace.