Father Ron Lawson

This arti­cle is from an SFAA mem­ber, and will be in an upcom­ing book.

A 7th gen­er­a­tion Ver­mont Yan­kee, born in Mont­pe­lier VT to a Methodist fam­ily, Father Ron Law­son has led a fas­ci­nat­ing life…. And con­tin­ues to do so.

Grad­u­at­ing with the class of 1956 from Mid­dle­bury Col­lege, tak­ing his degree in Russ­ian, he had a two-year com­mit­ment to US Army Intel­li­gence in the field of coun­teres­pi­onage. He stayed with the Army for another two years attain­ing the rank of 1st Lieu­tenant. Assigned to West Berlin after com­plet­ing a spe­cial dual lan­guage course (Ger­man and Pol­ish) taught in the Hawkins Bar­racks in Ober­am­mer­gau, Bavaria, he con­tin­ued as a “spy catcher”.

On Christ­mas Eve, 1959 his life began to change as he felt the strong call to Catholi­cism. A year later, he was bap­tized and con­firmed a Catholic. He left the army in 1961, just as the Berlin Wall was being erected, to return to the US to begin his priestly stud­ies at St. John’s Seminary.

His spir­i­tual men­tor, Maria Von Trapp (of The Sound of Music fame) pro­vided sig­nif­i­cant help to him in his devel­op­ing reli­gious life. Ordained in May 1970 he began an extra­or­di­nary life; first as a parish priest, then a high school chap­lain for 12 years, and then rejoin­ing the Army with the rank of Cap­tain as a Catholic mil­i­tary chap­lain. He was in West Berlin again in 1989 when the infa­mous Berlin Wall came down.

His adven­tures and trav­els as he ful­filled his assign­ments read more like fic­tion than fact. He served in “Desert Storm” as a chap­lain in 1991, suf­fer­ing phys­i­cal and emo­tional dis­abil­i­ties. Leav­ing the Army in Oct.1992 at age 58, he spent the next 10 years with the US Dept. of Vet­er­ans Affairs as a V.A. Chaplain.

He is now Senior Priest in Res­i­dence at St. Mary Church in Chelms­ford, MA where the author of this book met him and enjoys cap­tur­ing his life story in the book* Let Me Be A Light: the Faith Jour­ney of Father Ron Law­son.

*To be avail­able in mid-year 2010.

For more infor­ma­tion and to be added to the mail­ing list for avail­abil­ity updates, con­tact Richard L. Rotelli at rlrotelli@yahoo.com

Posted in Family Web Log.


  1. Please inform me when Fr Lawson’s book is avail­able.
    He will not remem­ber me but he is a per­son that greatly influ­enced my life.We met when I was attend­ing sum­mer camp at Camp Holy Cross in Ver­mont.
    To “find him“and know that he is well is a blessing.

  2. Read­ing your book and reminded of some of our ” grow­ing up days’ on Barre St. well writ­ten and an easy read to fol­low so far. so pleased that we have it. See you at the reunion ??

  3. Ron, you have had quite a life since we were next door neigh­bors. Would love to read your new book.

  4. Ron , Read your book.I found it hard to put down it was fun and easy and inter­st­ing reading.easy to stay with it and not want toput it down. maybe ‚because of know­ing you — your fam­ily and some of the areas & peo­ple you shared your mem­o­ries of. I see a another side of you.. and proud to have grown up know­ing you. Mr Rotelli has a nice style of writ­ing and did jus­tice to you and your life.. Thank you for the auto­graphed book it is a keeper. See you at the reunions

  5. Hello Sam, I came across this post­ing by acci­dent and saw your mes­sage. I want to be sure that you know that Fr. Lawson’s biog­ra­phy was pub­lished at the end of June, 2010.

    Visit http://www.rlrotellibooks.com to learn how to obtain a copy if you don’t already have one.

    I would very much like to know your reac­tion to the book when you get a chance. Email me at rlrotelli@yahoo.com .

    Best regards,

    Richard L. Rotelli

  6. I knew Fr. Ron was spe­cial and we were for­tu­nate to have him with us at St. Mary’s. After read­ing his book I am sooo happy he came back to us !

  7. Father Law­son, I am sure you don’t remem­ber us — but we will always remem­ber the incred­i­ble jour­ney nwe took with you to Rome when we all lived in Berlin. I think of you and Fr. Stahl often and hope yo are both well. I would love to read your book.

    Since lvg. Berlin our son Jim served in the Marines for 20 yrs. Our youngest son Bryan, who accom­pa­nied us to Rome is now a new father him­self. I still have the pic­ture of you shak­ing Pope John Paul’s hand and actu­ally look at it every day. God bless and keep us in your prayers. Anna­Marie McGuinness

  8. Just check­ing the Web in case you had died…the Postal Ser­vice being what it is since pri­vati­sa­tion, who knows whether your card is late, or all your cards have been can­celled?
    Ver­ily, the hip­pie got old.
    Our No.2 daugh­ter, Kasia, is expect­ing a son by some Welsh wiz­ard end of Jan­u­ary. Makes the gene pool even more excit­ing! The lit­tle bug­ger will be more ‘British’ than his pater­nal ances­tors.
    My first grand­child at 65, but boy can I teach him non­con­for­mity!
    Some­body has to.

    Take it easy, but take it…

    Tad the Polak of Garmisch & Sheffield.

    PS. Still married…tell me about it!!!

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