Rev. Lawler joins All Saints Parish
LE MARS — The Rev. Bruce Lawler is slowly putting names and faces together at All Saints Parish in Le Mars.
The priest moved to Le Mars in late June to begin his new assignment as pastor of the parish.
He most recently served three parishes in northwest Iowa, St. Mary in Larchwood, Holy Name in Rock Rapids and St. Mary in Rock Valley.
“I called myself the pastor of Lyon County and half of Sioux County,” he said.
This assignment means a larger parish.
“I hope I have the energy for it. I will find out,” Lawler said.
He is looking forward to the challenge and the diversity in serving the parish.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know people, although that’s pretty daunting, there are so many. As I get older, it gets harder and harder to remember,” he said.
For Lawler, who grew up on a farm near Clare, in the Fort Dodge area, he calls himself “a happy product of Catholic education all my life.”
“I’m happy to be in a parish that has a Catholic School. I think they are a great gift for the church, and for the parishes that operate them,” Lawler said.
There are many things Lawler likes about being a priest.
“I like the diversity of the life. I like the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and deal with issues that are fundamentally important, spiritual issues,” he said.
He also likes celebrating the liturgy.
“It demands a certain amount of energy and a big amount of anxiety to prepare for, especially preaching,” he said.
As far as All Saints Parish, he’s looking forward to hearing how God works in the lives of people here.
“Everyone has an individual story and their own journey. Although it’s the same journey, it’s different for everyone,” he said.
After attending a year of college, Lawler took a year off because he was undecided about what he wanted to do in life.
That was in 1973.
“During that year I decided to try the priesthood. It seemed to be a good fit,” he said.
He attended Loras College in Dubuque and studied in Rome for his last four years of seminary education.
He was ordained in 1980.
“I also had the opportunity after I was ordained to study liturgy at the University of Notre Dame. I served for 11 years as director of our diocesan office of worship while I was still a pastor in several places,” he added.
He describes his first weeks in Le Mars as busy, chaotic and kind of fun.
“I’ve enjoyed the challenges, although I really am still running to keep up. But so far so good I think,” he said. “People are very welcoming. I haven’t heard any complaints yet.”
And has he visited the ice cream parlor yet?
“Only once so far. Thanks to Father (Paul) Eisele,” Lawler said.
When he’s not busy with parish work, Lawler enjoys reading and working crossword puzzles.
“I like to travel when the time comes, every place can be interesting. I try to exercise faithfully. I bike a bit, and walk more than run at this point in my life,” he said.
He also credits his mother with passing on a love for cooking.
“It’s nice to be here at All Saints Parish and in Le Mars,” he said.