Lawrence Madden, SJ – R.I.P.

29 May 2011

It is my sad duty to inform you that Fr. Lawrence J. Madden, SJ, was found dead in his room. Apparently he died over night.

More information will be forthcoming.

May he soon assist at the Liturgy of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Saints of God, come to his aid!
Hasten to meet him angels of the Lord!
Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon him.

May he rest in peace. Amen.


  1. Larry was a wonderful man.. true believer in the renewal of the liturgy. I was honored to work with him several times.. wonderful spirit, wonderful passion about the liturgy. We shall miss him..

  2. I am so sorry to hear this. Fr. Larry was our pastor at Holy Trinity Church in Washington, DC for many years. I experienced my first Triduum there, which hooked me for life. Such a loss.

  3. I am aggrieved by the news of this fine and great man’s death.

    But the few comments generated by this post and the one on Fred McManus suggests to me that this blog should be closed.

    Pray Tell has been overrun by the “violent party” as some Blessed Someone whose feet they love to kiss once said.

    The nasty comment by Mr Harding should been removed.


    1. Mr. Mindenki,

      What are you talking about here? Nasty comments referring to this post? The three above yours are all expressions of sorrow at the man’s passing, with compliments to him. Similarly, the ones below.

      I am confused. Would you please explain what you mean?

  4. I was one of a family intending to see Larry at a baptism this coming Sunday, so the news of his death is a shock. I join those who will miss him as a great priest, Jesuit, and liturgist, and as a great friend.

    Another Jesuit I knew said, “There is no substitute for brains.” Larry wore his smarts about liturgy, theology, church history–and people of all kinds–with grace and kindness. May he rest in peace.

  5. Larry Madden was the best presider. You did not see him or notice him. He served the liturgy and pointed you to Christ.

  6. Larry Madden taught one of my favorite classes at Georgetown: Liturgical Ritual. I learned to much from him, and he allowed me to express what I learned in creative ways. I am so sorry… the Hilltop has lost one of the finest Jesuits to grace it’s campus. May the good Lord throw him a thank you party now.

  7. I had the privilege of working closely with Fr. Larry Madden as a member of Holy Trinity’s Parish Council in the late 1990s. He was always seeking ways to connect to the congregation through his liturgies. He was brilliant and witty but his most memorable liturgies for me might be the ones directed at the children of the parish. His sidekick, Mr. Blue (a blue hand puppet), was critical to hooking kids into listening to Larry’s messages in the sermons.

    He is going to really be missed at Holy Trinity. RIP.

    1. Mr. Willison, I’m glad you mentioned the hand puppets Fr. Madden used in his liturgies. One of our readers either didn’t seem to think the late Fr. Madden used them
      or took exception to my mentioning the puppets in my tribute to Fr. Madden. However, I’m glad you did.

      Fr. Madden was a wonderful priest. He had delightful and enchanting sermons at Holy Trinity where he was known to have used those puppets at some of the adult masses as well at the masses for children.

  8. What a profound loss not only to the Jesuit, Georgetown and Holy Trinity families, but to everyone who loves good liturgy. To borrow from St. Ephrem, “You gave him to us, Lord, to be our joy, and now the time has come to give him back to you. We do so without a murmur, but our hearts are wrung with sorrow” A wonderful priest and a true gentle-man. Rest in peace.

  9. Many know of Fr. Madden’s love for sailing and oftentimes we would see him sporting his Captain’s hat as he briskly walked from church to conference room, chapel to classroom and returning always to The Center. Last weekend, we readied his boat, Harry, and charted his first summer sail. While on the Bay, he looked over the water and i asked him to share his thoughts. He gently spoke, “I’m undergoing G*d”. And what do you mean? “like the flowers and trees undergo Spring, we let G*d, and no matter what, miracles of G*d will happen. With his sudden death, I reflect on his words. Yes, he is truly undergoing G*d. I pray he will continue to speak to us as we keep him in loving memory. Thank you for the Peace you lovingly shared.

  10. Father Madden was pastor of Holy Trinity when our family joined the parish in the mid 1990s. He had a beautiful singing voice and his animated, heartfelt homilies set a very high bar. Minds of the parishioners did not wander when Larry madden spoke — he entertained, charmed and enlightened the flock. He shepherded the parish through the restoration of the beautiful Chapel of St. Ignatius and the challenge of building a new parish center on the small area of Georgetown that Holy Trinity occupies. I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of his passing. We will miss him. Our lives are enriched for having known him.

  11. I had the great pleasure during the past 2 years of renewing my friendship with Larry, begun in the 1970’s) while we worked together to create the recently published book “Simply Fred: A Tribute to Frederick R. McManus.” Larry was most cooperative and encouraging throughout the process of making the book an integral tribute to Fred. He also generously hosted me and Jerry Sigler and John Page for 2 days at the Jesuit residence for a meeting to refine the text/draft we had at that time. When I learned of his death he and I were just beginning to plan for the distribution of the book. I miss him sorely.

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