Herald JournalHerald Journal, Sept. 22, 2003

Winsted native serves as acting chair at Marquette

By Julie Yurek

Winsted native Father John D. Laurance is serving as acting chair of the Department of Theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis. while a national search for a new chair is being conducted.

Laurance is an associate professor of theology. He succeeds Father Philip J. Rossi, who was a professor of theology.

Laurance isn't exactly sure why he was chosen as acting chair, he said. "They must have seen something in me."

He may serve as chair up to a year and a half, until a permanent chair is found, he said.

Some of his responsibilities include representing the department to the university, overseeing the hiring of faculty, committee work, and overall running of the theology department.

He will supervise 31 faculty members. He is not teaching this semester so he can focus on his duties as chair, but he will resume teaching next semester, he said.

"It's a bit of a challenge, but I'm happy to serve," Laurance said.

Once his duties as acting chair end, he plans to continue teaching and writing at Marquette, he said.

Laurance graduated from Holy Trinity High School in 1956. His parents are Dave and Elizabeth (Otto) Laurance.

Laurance was back in Winsted a year ago for his mother's funeral.

After high school he attended St. Louis University, where he received his bachelor's degree in philosophy and letters in 1963 and a master's degree in Latin, Greek, and philosophy in 1964.

He earned a master's in theology and divinity in pastoral theology from the university's Divinity School in 1971.

Laurance also received his doctorate in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in 1983.

He taught at two Catholic high schools and joined Marquette University in 1971 as an adjunct instructor of theology for a year before becoming an instructor and coordinator of the pastoral program at Marquette University High School.

He then joined the faculty of Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., in 1983 as an assistant professor. He returned to Marquette in 1992.

Laurance focused on research during his career. His research concentrated on the history and theology of liturgy and sacraments.

His dissertation explored the role of priests in the Eucharist.

In addition to extensive publications and presentations, he has worked with the Archdioceses of Milwaukee and Omaha.

Laurance also served as an adviser to the Bishop's Committee on the Liturgy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

He is presently a translator for the International Commission for English in the Liturgy.

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