Father L. P. Morrissey dies; funeral at cathedral on Feb. 10

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Peoria, for Father Lawrence P. Morrissey, 82, a senior priest of the Diocese of Peoria.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, will be principal celebrant. Visitation is planned on Monday, Feb. 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the cathedral, with a wake service at 7:45 p.m. Additional visitation will be at 10:30 a.m. at the cathedral prior to the funeral on Tuesday.

Father Morrissey, a native of Peoria and former pastor of parishes in Brimfield and Williamsfield, Creve Coeur, El Paso, Mahomet, Campus, Loretto, Bement, Champaign and Carthage, died Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009 in Peoria.

Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Peoria.

Born Oct. 28, 1926, in Peoria to Patrick and Ida (Kleen) Morrissey, he attended Sacred Heart grade school and Spalding Institute.

He was drafted after high school and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Jan. 14, 1945. He served as a hospital corpsman at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland and a dental hygienist at Great Lakes Naval Station north of Chicago.

Following his discharge, Father Morrissey went to St. Ambrose College, Davenport, Iowa, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1950.

He told The Catholic Post on the occasion of his 50th jubilee of ordination in 2007 that he had heard the Lord asking him to “Come follow me” for years, and at age 25 he began studies for the priesthood at St. Ambrose. He received a degree in philosophy in 1953 and went on to St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., graduating in 1957.

He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria on June 2, 1957.

Father Morrissey served as parochial vicar at St. Joseph’s, Rock Island, from 1957 to 1959; St. Mary’s, Champaign, from 1959 to 1964; and St. Mary’s, Moline, from 1964 to 1969.

He was named pastor of Immaculate Conception, Carthage, in 1969 and moderator of the Monmouth Deanery Council of Catholic Women the next year. He became pastor of St. Michael’s Parish, Bement, in 1972, and five years later was named co-pastor at Holy Cross, Champaign. Following a brief time as administrator of St. Mary’s Parish, Ottawa, he was named pastor of Sacre Coeur Parish, Creve Coeur, in 1979 and served there for the next decade.

From 1989 to 1992, he served as administrator and then pastor of Sacred Heart, Campus, and St. Mary’s, Loretto. He guided Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Mahomet, from 1992 to 1995, when he was named pastor of St. Mary’s, El Paso.

He returned to Creve Coeur as pastor in 2001, and the next year was named pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish in Brimfield and St. James, Williamsfield. He served there until health issues precipitated his move to senior status last July with residence at St. Augustine Manor in Peoria, where he continued to celebrate Mass in his retirement.

“I was ordained to be a parish priest and that’s what I always wanted to be,” he said at the time.

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