Pilgrims walk to shrine
Honour for priest, a ‘brilliant academic’
A “brilliant academic” – that’s how Fr Bernard Maxwell describes fellow Dominican and friend Fr Laurence Fitzgerald, 74, whose service to the Church has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours.
Fr Laurence, who lives in the Melbourne suburb of Camberwell, was honoured with the Medal of the Order of Australia, particularly for his work in the difficult areas of inter-faith relations, as well as in education.
Fr Bernard said his colleague was “a great pastoral man as a priest” who “liked baptising children and listening to people’s problems – a great communicator”.
He had always been energetic and intellectually formidable, but his health had deteriorated in recent times.
Although steeped in the intellectual life, Fr Laurence had never forgotten what he was ordained for, says Fr Bernard “He’s a great Dominican ... one of those balanced people. This is a very fitting award for him”.
Fr Lawrence (pictured) became headmaster of Blackfriars Priory School, Adelaide in 1954. Then in 1969 he became the founding master of Mannix College, Monash University, where he spent 12 years.
He also spent a number of years at the John XXIII College at the Australian National University (a residential college run by Dominican friars) where he became a member of the Australian College of Education.
He holds a doctorate in theology at the Angelicum University, Rome, an MA in medieval history from the Trent University, Ontario, and a PhD in Islamic studies from the ANU, Canberra.