Lawrence Walls Fischer was born at 72 Frank Street, Gateshead,
Northumberland, England on 31 August 1904. He was the son of Frederick Fischer,
a butcher and his wife, Mary Ann McCluskie. Sadly, Frederick Fischer died in Gateshead
just 29 days before his son was born. The family later moved to Dumfries.
Lawrence Fischer was educated at Saint Mary’s College, Blairs, Aberdeen and The
Scots College, Rome.
He was ordained in the Lateran Seminary, Rome on 16 February 1930. In his
early priesthood, he was on loan to the Archdiocese of Saint
Andrew’s and Edinburgh. He served at Saints Ninian and Triduana, Restalrig from
1930 to 1931; Saint Joseph’s Church, Kilmarnock from 1931 to 1939; the Church
of Our Lady and Saint Cuthbert, Maybole from 1938 to 1945 and Saint Francis
Xavier Church, Waterside from 1945 to 1953. He became Parish Priest
of the Church of Saint Peter in Chains in October 1953.
Lawrence Fischer was made a member of the
Cathedral Chapter in October 1966. He was for many years Diocesan Master of Ceremonies
and Treasurer of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the
Diocese of Galloway.
Canon Fischer died in Ballochmyle Hospital, Mauchline, Ayrshire on 10 October
1980. He is buried in Ardrossan Cemetery.
The first photograph
above was taken on 16 February 1955 and the other one in October 1966.
The obituary below is from the Scottish Catholic
The death occurred in Ballochmyle Hospital, Ayrshire on 10th October, 1980, of
Canon Fischer, for twenty-six years parish priest of St. Peter in Chains, Ardrossan.
His Requiem Mass was celebrated by most of the clergy of the diocese, and the
homily was given by Monsignor Francis Duffy, Vicar-General, in the absence abroad
of the bishop. He was laid to rest in Ardrossan cemetery.
Lawrence Fischer was a native of Dumfries where he received his primary education.
He studied in Blairs College, Aberdeen, before going to the Scots College, Rome,
for philosophy and theology. He was ordained in Rome in 1930. His first year on
the mission was spent, not in his own Diocese of Galloway but at St. Ninian's,
Edinburgh, where he was "on loan" for one year. Most of his years as
an assistant were spent in St. Joseph's, Kilmarnock, when that was the only parish
in the town. He lived long enough to rejoice at the expansion of Catholic population
that today merits four churches in the town.
He was parish priest in Maybole during the war years, and then in Waterside till
1953, when he was appointed to St. Peter-in-Chains, Ardrossan. It is not given
to many men to celebrate both the Silver and the Golden Jubilee of their priesthood
in the same parish. But it happened to the Canon.
His last years were darkened by illness, tedious and prolonged, and it was a matter
of supreme regret to him that he was very limited in what he could do for his
people. Until the days of his illness, his priesthood was characterised by this
salient feature; he wanted the best out of people because the Lord he led them
in serving deserves nothing but the best. There was no place in Lawrence Fischer's
plan for the sloppy and the half-hearted. He urged his people, in season and out
of season, to be wholehearted in their pursuit of Christ; and if people might
find him impatient at times, they were witnessing an impatience born of his hurt
that Christ and his Church might have been better served. His love for the liturgy
- and a well-prepared liturgy always - was proverbial through the diocese, and
the people of St. Peter's gave him their full support in his zeal for God's house.
For a number of years he was the diocesan Master of Ceremonies, a task he carried
out with meticulous care and reverence. His preaching was clear and forthright;
a man concerned for his flock and sure in his own faith can preach in no other
his parish and his church and was never really happy away from home. Indeed, his
final sadness was that his request to be allowed home from hospital had to be
sidestepped because by then he was too ill.
Apart from his work for
his immediate flock, his many years of service to the missions as diocesan treasurer
for the Propagation of the Faith gave him great personal satisfaction. What in
others might just have been a job - sending out cold receipts, acknowledging contributions,
was for him an apostolate; and the little comments as he acknowledged parish contributions
from the diocese were always noted with satisfaction. There was always a friendly
and personal comment.
Canon Fischer never sought the limelight; it was
sufficient that he was running his parish to the best of his very fine ability.
Early in 1980, he had made it quite clear that his golden jubilee of priesthood
should be marked only by the prayers of his friends, and nothing could shake him
in that resolve. And in his will he directed that his Requiem Mass and funeral
should be performed very simply. The emphasis was to be on prayers for the repose
of his soul.
In the absence of Bishop McGee who was abroad, Monsignor
Duffy, the Vicar-General was the principal concelebrant at the Requiem Mass shared
by over fifty priests and attended by a very packed congregation. Eternal rest
grant unto him, O Lord.