Long-Time Leader of Kettering Parish Dies

By Jim DeBrosse
Dayton Daily News
April 30, 2008

CENTERVILLE — Monsignor Lawrence Breslin, a long-time leader of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Kettering and a voice for social justice, died at St. Leonard Retirement Community on Tuesday, April 29, after a prolonged illness. He was 75.

A native of Lawrenceburg, Ind., Monsignor Breslin first came to St. Charles in 1962 to assist in establishing Alter High School. He retired in 2004, having spent 27 of his 50 years as a priest associated with the Kettering parish.

Monsignor Breslin graduated from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati in 1950 and earned his degree in philosophy from St. Gregory Seminary in 1954. He later studied in Rome, where he was ordained on July 14, 1957.

Monsignor Breslin returned to Italy in 1968 as vice rector of the Pontifical North American College. While in Rome, he was made a monsignor by papal directive. He came back to St. Charles in 1986.

Monsignor Breslin is perhaps best known for his outspokenness on social issues, including civil rights, dating back to the 1960s when he appeared several times on the old Phil Donahue Show.

In more recent years, he was one of the few priests in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to question publicly its policies toward priests accused of sexual abuse and their victims. In 2005, he was the second priest in the nation to receive the Priest of Integrity award from Voices of the Faithful, a Catholic lay group advocating for victims of priest sexual abuse.

Breslin opened the doors of St. Charles to meetings of the Voice of the Faithful when no other Catholic institution in the Miami Valley would, said Kris Ward, chair of the group's Dayton affiliate.

"He was unusual among priests of this era," Ward said in a statement today. "He will most assuredly be missed."

Father Gerald Haemmerle, current pastor at St. Charlies, called Monsignor Breslin "a very compassionated man" who "was very dedicated to the parish and... very well-known for reaching out to anyone who was suffering in any way."

Monsignor Breslin is survived by a brother, Jim, who lives in the Washington, D.C. area, and by numerous nieces and nephews. Westbrock Funeral Home of Kettering is handling the arrangements, which are still pending.

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