Father Meinrad Lawson, O.S.B., has been named pastor of Saint Marys Parish, St. Marys, effective August 1.
He attended Saint Mary Parochial School in Erie, and is a 1958 graduate of Erie Technical High School. He attended Saint Vincent College and Saint Vincent Seminary, and received a master of arts in religious education in 1982 from Providence College in Rhode Island, and a master of divinity degree from Saint Vincent Seminary in 1992. He has done graduate studies at Notre Dame University. He received the Doctor of Humane letters, honoris causa, from Belmont Abbey College in 1993.
He entered the Benedictine Monastic Community of Saint Vincent Archabbey in 1960. He made simple profession of vows on July 2, 1961, and solemn profession of vows on July 11, 1964. He was ordained to the priesthood at Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica by the late Bishop William G. Connare, of Greensburg, on May 20, 1967.
From 1967 to 1978, Father Meinrad served as assistant pastor at Queen of the World Church in St. Marys, Pennsylvania. He also taught religion (1967–77) and his other pastoral work at St. Mary’s included serving as department chair at Elk County Christian High School, confessor to the Sisters of Saint Joseph (1967–75), chaplain to the Knights of Columbus (1968–69), chaplain to the Bucktail Council of the Boy Scouts of America (1973–78). Father Meinrad is a past member of the Board of Directors of Elk County Child Welfare (1970–74), the Elk County Community Action Board (1970–75), the Board of Directors of the St. Mary’s Child Day Care Center (1971–75), the Erie Diocesan Priest Council (1972–74), and the steering committee for the Council of Aging, Diocese of Erie (1974).
In 1978, Father Meinrad was assigned to Benedictine Priory and Military School in Savannah, Georgia, where he served as Prior of the Monastery from 1987 to 1999. He was chair of the religious studies department from 1979 to 1992, and chair of the Priory Liturgy Committee from 1979 to 1987. Father Meinrad served on the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Savannah (1984–87), as business manager of Benedictine Military School (1987-1994); assistant headmaster, Benedictine Military School (1992-1994); and was named the first president of Benedictine Military School in1994.
In 2001 he returned to the abbey to serve as Master of Ceremonies and Administrative Assistant to the Archabbey. From 2004-2007 he also served as pastor of Saint Vincent Basilica Parish.