Casa Church’s first rector dies at 78

Prof. Larry Dolan, OFM
Not: March 10, 1940
Ordered: December 12, 1965 for the Diocese of San Diego
Entered the Franciscan order: 1987
Solemn vows pronounced:
August 15, 1992
Service in the Diocese of Phoenix
  • Director of Pastoral Ministry, Franciscan Renewal Center, (the “Casa”)
  • Rector of the Conventual Church of Our Lady of the Angels, 2002-09
Is dead: May 15, 2018


Prof. Laurence Dolan, OFM, who was the first rector of the Conventual Church of Our Lady of the Angels at the Franciscan Renewal Center, or the “Casa” in Scottsdale, died May 15. He also served as director of the Casa’s pastoral ministry during his time there in the 2000s.

Pr. Dolan was born on March 10, 1940 in San Diego. He studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and was ordained a priest in St. Peter’s Basilica for the Diocese of San Diego on December 12, 1965.

“He was proud of his studies in Rome,” recalls Franciscan Father Joe Schwab, director of the Casa. “He was very good at Latin, among other things, and he remained scholarly throughout his life, especially in Bible studies.”

As a diocesan priest, Fr. Dolan served as university chaplain and parish priest before entering the Order of Friars Minor of the province of Santa Barbara in 1987 and taking his solemn vows on August 15, 1992 at the Mission Santa Barbara.

“He once told me that the main reason he entered the order was that he really wanted this experience of brotherhood in his life because he had no brothers and sisters, and he always been drawn to order since he was a little boy,” the father said. Schwab.

“He also greatly valued his strong relationships with the diocesan clergy and maintained those friendships throughout his life, from his time at the Pontifical North American College in Rome until the day of his death.”

As a Franciscan priest, he served four years at St. Catherine’s Indian Mission in Topawa, Arizona, and at a parish in Huntington Beach, California, before being assigned to the Casa in 2002. One of p. Dolan’s ministries were for those in recovery, and he served on the board of directors for Guest House, a Michigan-based residential Catholic addiction treatment center.

“His ministry here stood out for two reasons: He was an excellent preacher who really had a gift for helping people understand the Bible readings of the given Sunday and how to apply them to their daily lives,” the father said. Schwab, “and he was extremely good at helping people in family situations with drug and alcohol addiction.”

He remained at the Casa until 2009, when he was assigned to Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, California, where he retired and continued his ministry at the mission as well as in other parishes as needed. During his retirement, he continued to lead retreats throughout the country.

Martha J. Finley