Members of the campus community paid their respects in a funeral liturgy June 4 for Fr. Lawrence Madden, S.J., a professor of theology and former pastor of Holy Trinity parish who died May 29.
Madden was found dead in his room in Wolfington Hall at the age of 78.
“He was so energetic, so youthful in manner, that we all assumed he had many years of work ahead … We are all still stunned by his sudden death,” said Fr. James Walsh, S.J., a fellow professor of theology who delivered the sermon at the funeral liturgy.
Madden played an integral role in the campus community while on the Hilltop after he came to Washington in 1971 and was hired as a theology professor. Throughout his career, he served as the first director of Campus Ministry and founding director of the Center for Liturgy, an institution aimed at helping American parishes adapt to Second Vatican Council reforms. He served as parochial vicar and then pastor of Holy Trinity parish from 1993 to 2000.
According to the Jesuit community website, Madden also pursued a wide variety of lifelong interests. He once raced a sailboat from California to Hawaii and flew a sailplane. He also sang on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 accompanied Tony Bennet on piano, a fact confirmed by Madden’s Internet Movie Database listing.
As a professor, he made his mark teaching classes such as Catholic Ritual, Spirituality and Justice last fall.
“Father Madden was a man of intellectual and spiritual depth with commitments to Georgetown students, the rich liturgical tradition of the Church, and the Jesuit [and] Catholic mission of the university,” Terrence Reynolds, chair of the theology department, said in an email. “We were deeply grateful for his service and for his generosity of spirit. He will be sorely missed.”
Beyond his courses, Madden took an interest in art and architecture as part of his work with the Center for Liturgy. Partially for his work on the renovations of Holy Trinity, on May 12 Madden received the Conover Memorial Award from the American Institute of Architects, an award given on occasion to non-architects for their contributions to religious architecture.
Madden was born May 18, 1933, in Philadelphia. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1951 and was ordained in 1964.
He received a bachelor’s degree in 1957 and a master’s degree in 1959 from Fordham University.