Father Wayne Patrick Lavin dies


lavinwaynepatrick-webFather Wayne Patrick Lavin, 72, a priest in the Diocese of Camden for over 40 years, died July 19.
As a pastor, Father Lavin ministered at St. Bartholomew in Camden (1994-2001); and at St. Bridget, Glassboro (2001-04).
Msgr. Roger E. McGrath, who was ordained a diocesan priest on the same day as Father Lavin, recalled a man who might have been big in stature, “but had a heart even bigger. He had a great sense of the joy of life,” which he brought to all he interacted with.
“He would make a room light up,” Msgr. McGrath said. “Father Pat touched so many people, and touched them deeply.”
Even in his final years of sickness, Father Lavin dealt with his struggles “in his usual sense of humor,” said Msgr. McGrath, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Turnersville.
Born in Philadelphia, Father Pat, as he was known, studied at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa., before being ordained on May 22, 1971 by Bishop George H. Guilfoyle. His first assignment was as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Berlin, where he served until 1972.
Other parish assignments, as parochial vicar, included St. Stephen, Pennsauken (1972-76); Queen of the Apostles, Pennsville (1976-78); and Queen of Heaven, Cherry Hill (1978-82, 1989-94).
Outside of the parish, Father Lavin served in campus ministry, first at Rutgers University-Camden from 1982-87, and later as director of Campus Ministry at Richard Stockton College in Pomona, from 2006-08.
He also served multiple terms on the Priests’ Council, was a member of the Diocesan AIDS Task Force, and was associate chaplain at Cooper Hospital University Medical Center in Camden.
While working in campus ministry in the late 1980s, Father Lavin was featured on Channel 17’s “Real-to-Reel/Catholic Magazine” television program, in conjunction with the Delaware Valley Office of Catholic Radio and Television.
The 22 segments produced, “Songs of the Troubadour,” aired on Sunday nights, and included Father Lavin’s lectures combining theology, psychology and humor.
A priest with a talent for seeing God in unlikely places and times, Father Lavin also wrote some pieces for the Catholic Star Herald in the 1970s, including an account of seeing a homeless woman in Philadelphia and another about learning that his teenage nephew was diagnosed with cancer.
Father Lavin was also retreat master at St. Joseph’s-in-the-Hills in Malvern, Pa., Men’s Retreat House, and at the Dominican Sisters’ Retreat House, Elkins Park, Pa. For a time, he was team priest for the Marriage Encounter and Engaged Encounter programs for the Camden Diocese. Since 2004, he had resided at Sacred Heart residence for priests in Cherry Hill. In 2008, he retired for medical reasons.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated July 24 at the Catholic Community of Christ Our Light in Cherry Hill. Interment was at Calvary Cemetery.