Funeral Mass offered in LaSalle for Father Lawrence Morlan, 53

LA SALLE — A funeral Mass was offered on Sept. 9 at St. Patrick Church here for Father Lawrence A. Morlan, 53, a native of Streator and a priest known for his peace and social justice efforts.

Father Morlan died on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, in Bettendorf, Iowa.
Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, was principal celebrant of the funeral Mass, with Msgr. Gerald Ward, pastor of St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington, as homilist. Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Streator.

Born Feb. 20, 1960, in Streator to Loren and Carole Ann Morlan, he graduated from Streator High School in 1978 and St. Ambrose College in 1982 with degrees in philosophy and history.

Following his college graduation, he began work at the Davenport, Iowa Catholic Worker House and joined the Plowshares Movement, an anti-nuclear weapons and pacifist nonviolent group. Several times he engaged in nonviolent acts of resistance at nuclear weapons sites.

In 1990 he resumed his studies for the priesthood at Mundelein Seminary, and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Peoria on May 29, 1995. His assignments while in the diocese included three years as parochial vicar at St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington, and four years as pastor of St. Joseph, Rock Island. From 2007 to 2009 he was parochial vicar at St. Joseph, Pekin.

In the funeral homily, Msgr. Ward recalled Father Morlan’s passionate love of the church, the Eucharist, the Gospel and Jesus Christ. He had “a heart that was very committed to not only talking about the teachings of Christ, but to live it,” said Msgr. Ward, pointing out a special care and compassion for the homeless and poor. His strong opinions and examples challenged others to grow in their own understanding of the Gospel.

Father Morlan is survived by his father, Loren, of Peru; a sister, Joanne (Michael) Michalek of Watertown, Mass.; a brother Jeff (Karen) Morlan of Marshall, Mo.; two nephews; three stepsisters; a stepbrother, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

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