Lawrence Hayes Installed as Pastor of North Carolina Parish

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

DURHAM, N.C. — Last Sunday, Lawrence Hayes, OFM, was officially installed by Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish. He replaced Daniel McLellan, OFM, pastor since 2005, who left the parish last month to serve as pastor of St. Andrew’s in Clemson, S.C.

Lawrence, a Long Island, N.Y., native, has been in Durham since 2011. Previously, he served at St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, Md., where he was pastor and guardian, and at St. Paul’s Parish in Wilmington, Del. Larry has been active in Provincial leadership roles. Since 2011, he has served as a member of the Provincial Council. In March 2011, Larry facilitated the Province’s workshop about reaching youth and young adults. This past October, he presented a keynote speech at the Province’s second Encuentro Franciscano, a celebration of Hispanic culture.

Larry, who professed his final vows as a friar in 1988, said he felt proud as he participated in the Jan. 20  Mass.

Bishop Burbidge was a “warm, engaging and prayerful presider at the Eucharist, and enjoyed meeting and mingling with parishioners after the Mass,” Lawrence said. “He was very affirming of the ministry of the friars of Holy Name Province in this diocese. I must confess to feeling a certain sense of pride as I looked out at the beautiful worship space that we enjoy, thanks to David McBriar, OFM, and as I looked out at so many committed parishioners, thanks to the articulate, steady and wise leadership of Dan McLellan. When I expressed my thanks to Bill McIntyre, OFM, for his humble and loving service to the parish, it was followed by extended applause of the congregation.”

The bishop has a policy of installing all new pastors in the Diocese of Raleigh, Larry said. “It is his way of showing his pastoral concern for, and fraternal connection with, all the parishes in his care.” 

Immaculate Conception Parish, founded more than 100 years ago by Fr. William “Billy” O’Brien, has been staffed by the Franciscan friars of HNP since 1996. Several upgrades have been made since then. A new church was built in 2003, and in February 2006 the Emily Krzyzewski Family Life Center was opened.

The first 106 members of the parish, which now serves roughly 10,000 people, dedicated their church building on Jan. 14, 1906, according to the parish website, which provides a video. The first Franciscan pastor was David McBriar.

Immaculata School, located on the church campus, has more than 420 students in grades pre-kindergarten through eight. Last year, the school was awarded National Blue Ribbon status.

Immaculate Conception Parish is a “wonderful community of faith,” Larry said. “It is known throughout the diocese for its diversity as well as for its active involvement in social justice issues. As Bishop Burbidge mentioned in his homily:  “You are known for your outreach to the immigrant and to the inmate.” In addition to the Anglo members, the parish also has a large Mexican-Latino population, along with some Indians, Filipinos, Asians and Africans. The faith, generosity, openness and service of this parish are truly inspiring, said Larry

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.