Fr Lambert Greenan Dies

Author: LOR

Fr. Lambert Greenan Dies


Head of the English Edition of 'L'Osservatore Romano' for 22 years

Fr Lambert Greenan, OP, first editor of the English language weekly edition of L’Osservatore Romano, passed away on 29 November in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, just shy of his 102nd birthday. Born on 11 January 1917 in Newry, Northern Ireland, Fr Lambert entered the Dominican order in 1933 and was ordained a priest on 29 September 1940. After completing his philosophical and theological studies in Tallaght in 1943 and teaching for three years, he was sent to Rome to study Canon Law at the Angelicum University, receiving his Licentiate in 1948. He was then called back to Ireland where he taught Canon Law for 10 years.

In 1962, Fr Lambert was appointed superior of Saint Malachy’s Dominican Convent in Dundalk, Ireland where he remained until February 1968, when he was informed that he had been chosen to lead the English language edition of the Vatican newspaper, in response to requests voiced by English speaking bishops at the Second Vatican Council. The First edition was published on 4 April 1968. In response to the widespread public reaction to Saint Paul VI’s Encyclical Humanae Vitae, Fr Greenan defended the document by publishing weekly articles upholding the traditional teaching of the Church.

He remained at the head of the English edition of L’Osservatore Romano for 22 years, until his retirement in 1990, when he was already three years over the age limit. In 1993 Mother Angelica, Foundress of EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) invited him to Birmingham, to present the English version of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church on her network. In 1997 Mother Gabriel Long, Foundress of the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word invited him to the Casa Maria Retreat House, also in Alabama, to help her edit her Congregation’s constitutions. Diagnosed with cancer one year later, he stayed on in Birmingham to receive medical attention and ended up living with the Sister Servants for 21 years, becoming an active member of the community, celebrating Mass, hearing confessions and offering spiritual guidance.

A priest for almost eight decades, Fr Lambert will be remembered for his kindness, his wit and his devotion to the Catholic Church and her teachings. An article in the Birmingham News recounted an anecdote from his life which reveals his stalwart faith even as a child. Impressed by a Mass celebrated by a Dominican priest when he was only seven years old, as he was leaving the Church, young Lambert told his father: “Someday I will be a Dominican priest, and I will say my first Mass at that altar”. Indeed on 14 October 1933 he received his habit and in 1938 he made his solemn profession.

Fr Lambert’s funeral was celebrated on Wednesday, 5 December [2018], in the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Birmingham, where he was laid to rest at the Elmwood Cemetery.

L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
7 December 2018, page 9

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