BY Peter Diamond | July 19 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Lourdes and prayer inspire Scotland’s newest priest

Scotland’s newest priest has revealed that prayer and pilgrimages to Lourdes have played a significant role in his vocation to the priesthood.

Fr Kevin Lawrie was ordained for Motherwell Diocese on Tuesday July 16 in his home parish of St Aloyisus Church Chapelhall, where friends, family and parishioners watched on as Scotland gained its seventh priest of 2019.

Fr Lawrie first attended seminary when he was aged 17 in 1982 but left after two years to become a nurse.

He spent nearly three decades in health care working as a special needs nurse, a manager in community nursing and as a GP medical practitioner.



However, a trip to Lourdes and a devotional life of prayer reawakened his vocation to the priesthood.

Speaking ahead of his ordination, Fr Lawrie said: “In my ministry I am just looking forward to being there for people and to show them that Christ and the Church is there for them and to help them grow in their relationship. I know that relationship and I know it is very important for God’s people.”

Fr Lawrie cited his prayer life and going on pilgrimage to Lourdes as being two key factors in his journey to priesthood.

“My vocation to the priesthood happened through prayer about eight or nine years ago. I could feel God speaking to me and it was something I had to revisit,” he said.

“Lourdes was also something that helped reignite my vocation to the priesthood. I went with my mum a few years ago and now I go every year at Easter with HCPT [a pilgrimage for disadvantaged and disabled young people] and at summertime.”



After his vocation was reignited, Fr Lawrie spoke to Motherwell Diocese vocations director Fr Brian Lamb and soon started his propaedeutic year training, then based at the Conforti Institute in Coatbridge before it moved to Salamanca, Spain.

“The last four years have been the best of my life and I now have this inner peace and hopefully I’ll be able to be a good priest.”

Fr Lawrie was sent to Oscott Seminary in Birmingham following his propaedeutic year and studied a condensed four-year course.


Fulfilling experience

Fr Lawrie said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Oscott and the nine placements were very fulfilling in parishes, at youth groups, a prison and in a cathedral so it was quite varied but the most important part was just being with the people.

“At Christmas we finish up for two weeks break and then immediately have a four week placement which was very rewarding and great pastoral experience.

“I think the hardest part about seminary personally is just intellectually it can be very tough but I managed it with the grace of God and prayers.”



During his time prior to becoming a priest Fr Lawrie developed a good prayer habit but he said this was something that flourished in seminary.

“Oscott was very good for my prayer life. I developed a love for adoration and holy hour and I soon realised I was into a routine where I couldn’t live without it,” he said.

“I would start my day with morning meditation and say a daily Rosary of four mysteries and it really helped me to grow in my Faith through prayer.

“I think that’s important for everyone that they can realise their own prayer routine that is essential to developing their relationship with God.

“Adoration is very important to me or a planned period of prayer or the Blessed Sacrament, it just helps me focus my mind.”



For anyone contemplating a vocation Fr Lawrie added: “I would say to anyone—pray about it, speak to priests and not just the vocations director.

“Speak to your parish priest and go out your way to asking other ones. Then build up a prayer life and those priests can also bolster your prayer life.”



When asked who he has been influenced in his Faith life Fr Lawrie revealed: “I have been greatly influenced by the priest that I grew up with particularly at St Aloysius Church in Chapelhall.

“There was great examples of devotion there with the Sacraments. Fr Brian Lamb has also been a terrific help.

“I also owe a huge debt to my mother and father who passed on the Faith to me but have sadly passed away in recent years.

“My family has been incredibly supportive and this is very important to have that network to lean on, particularly my sister and brother.”



Fr Lawrie’s first Mass took place on Wednesday July 17 at St Aloysius, Chapelhall, after the SCO went to print.

On August 10 Fr Lawrie will become assistant priest at St Barbara’s Church Muirend and St James’ Church Coatbridge, as well as assisting with Catholic chaplaincy at Monklands Hospital. Prior to that he will continue to reside at St Joseph’s Church Blantyre.

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