Father Larry Dunn Dies

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Father Lawrence Patrick Dunn, MIC, died Thursday, May 18, 2017 at Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C. He was 74. He had suffered bravely for more than 10 years from Myelodysplastic Anemia.

Father Larry was born on Aug. 17, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in the United States Navy from 1961 to 1965 before being honorably discharged. It was during that time that he experienced the desire to embrace the religious life: One day, while onboard a ship that was anchored off the coast of a poverty-stricken region, he was deeply moved by the desperation of local children who would dive into shark-infested waters to retrieve coins laughingly tossed into the water by his fellow soldiers. This experience led him to seek to follow the poor Christ and to serve those in material and spiritual poverty. He entered the Marian Fathers in 1969 and made his first profession of religious vows in 1973.

He received his license for nursing (LPN) in 1978 and worked as a nurse for S.O.M.E. (So Others Might Eat) serving the poor and the homeless from 1978-1980. After this, he continued to volunteer in this capacity for many years. From 1980-1983 he was a pastoral associate at the Washington Hospital Center ministering to the sick.

He professed perpetual vows on Dec. 30, 1979. Initially, he felt called to be a permanent brother but, after several years as a brother, he experienced a call to the priesthood and was approved by his superiors to begin his seminary studies. From 1983-1987, he went to John XXIII Seminary. On June 28, 1987, he had the privilege of assisting as the Deacon of the Eucharist (or as his friends and Marian brothers would jokingly say, the "supreme deacon") alongside Pope St. John Paul II during the Mass of Beatification for the Marian Renovator, Blessed George Matulaitis-Matulewicz. He was ordained a priest on Aug. 1, 1987.

Father Larry was a much beloved pastor wherever he ministered. He served from 1988-1990 at Our Lady of Grace in Greensboro, North Carolina. He came to Washington, D.C., in 1990. From 1990-1996, he was vocations director and assistant house superior in Washington, D.C. Further, he assisted in parishes and at V.A. hospitals. He celebrated Mass and heard confessions at the Divine Mercy Chapel, in Brookeville, Maryland; the Malta House Nursing Home in Hyattsville, Maryland; the chapel of the Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Eucharist, including the Gospa Prayer Group; and he heard confessions regularly at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

When asked what he loved most about priestly ministry in places like the Greensboro Parish, Fr. Larry responded, "The people — I loved the people."

In addition to his ministries, he provided a cheerful presence in the seminary community in Washington. He worked on the admission board and served for a time as the director of vocations. He would say about the young men applying to the community that the most important quality that he looked for was zeal, "because it's the one thing you can't give." Joking with the members of his community, he would welcome those who had been traveling by patting their back and saying, "Guess whose (who's) back? ... Your back!" And when a member would finish his meal, saying, "I'm done," he would remark, "No you're not. I'm Dunn!"

Father Larry is predeceased by his father, Lawrence Michael Dunn. He leaves behind his mother, Rosemary Dunn of Brooklyn; his two sisters, Maureen Redding, also of Brooklyn, and Denise (and John) Ferrandino of Tampa, Florida; the members of his Marian community and many friends and parishioners.

Father Larry loved classical music and reading about history, especially the Revolutionary War. He was deeply devoted to St. Joseph and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Lord.

Viewing: Tuesday, May 23, at 3 p.m. at the monastery adjacent to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Funeral Mass: Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Shrine.

Burial: The Marian Cemetery on Eden Hill in Stockbridge.

Gifts can be made in Fr. Larry's name to the Marian Seminarian Campaign.

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