Msgr. Robert L. Lawler, 83, died at St. Joseph's Home, Ogdensburg, NY on August 29, 2013. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, September 3 at 2 p.m. at St. Mary's Cathedral with Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley, Bishop of Ogdensburg presiding, and the priests of the diocese concelebrating. The homilist will be Most Reverend Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, Bishop of Syracuse.
There will be calling hours at St. Mary's, Waddington 6-8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept 1, 2013. There will be the reception of the body at St. Mary's Cathedral by Fr. Joseph Morgan, Rector of the Cathedral and Vicar General on Monday, September 2, 2013-with calling hours 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. with Evening Prayer at 7:30 p.m. The funeral Mass is at 2 p.m. Burial will be in St. Mary's Cemetery in Waddington at 5 p.m. Arrangements are with Phillips Memorial Home, Waddington, NY. A reception following the Mass will be at the Knights of Columbus, Ogdensburg.
Msgr. Lawler was born in Oneonta, NY on November 8, 1930, son of the late John and Florence Rose Lawler. After graduating from Oneonta High School, Msgr. Lawler attended Holy Cross College in Massachusetts for a year and then entered Wadhams Hall in 1949. He completed his theological studies at Theological College in Washington, D.C. and was ordained at St. Mary's Cathedral, Ogdensburg on May 19, 1956 by Most Rev. Walter P. Kellenberg. Msgr. Lawler's first assignment was assistant pastor at Holy Family, Watertown and was appointed assistant secretary of Catholic Charities. In 1957 he became Executive Secretary of Catholic Charities in Ogdensburg and worked with St. Joseph's Home.
In 1967 he was made Papal Chamberlain and in 1976 he was named Prelate of Honor of His Holiness. Msgr. later retired from Catholic Charities and was appointed pastor of Brownville in 1986. In 1994 he was appointed Vicar General for the diocese and a year later became pastor of St. Mary's, Canton.
In 1996 he became pastor of St. Mary's, Waddington. In 1999, after Bishop Loverde was named Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, Msgr. Lawler was elected Diocesan Administrator until Bishop Barbarito was appointed Bishop of Ogdensburg. He was reappointed Vicar General in 2000 and in 2002 he was appointed pastor of St. Mary's Waddington and Church of St. John the Baptist in Madrid. In 2003, Msgr. was once again elected Diocesan Administrator when Bishop Barbarito was appointed Bishop of Palm Beach, Fla. With the arrival of Bishop Cunningham in 2004, Msgr. was named Vicar General.
In 2012, Msgr. Lawler retired as pastor of St. Mary's Waddington and St. John the Baptist, Madrid. Msgr. Lawler resided at Notre Dame Rectory during his retirement. Msgr. Lawler was predeceased by his brothers James Lawler, M.D., and John Lawler. He is survived by his brother Richard and Sally Lawler and two nephews, Michael and Kate Lawler their children Mark and Maggie and Patrick and Kathy Lawler and their children Brian and Nathan. Other nephews are John Adams, James Adams, Thomas and William Adams and a niece Bonnie Adams.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Joseph's Nursing Home, 950 Linden Street, Ogdensburg, NY. Arrangements are under the care and direction of the Phillips Memorial Home in Waddington, where online condolences may be made to www.phillipsmemorial.com