0912-lawrence-hinrichsEulogy given by
Br. Ralph Darmento, FSC

What is the measure of a man? This question has been asked over and again from the beginning of time. What is the measure of a man? It is a good question; an important question; an enduring question; it is an ultimate question when we face the death of someone we know and love. Someone like Brother Lawrence Hinrichs.

In his case, our answers to the question are immediate. He was a loving son to his mother and father, a caring brother and wonderful uncle. The measure of a man can certainly be found in the love of family: love freely given and love humbly received. Certainly his poignant care for his dear Mom during the last two years of her life provides eminent testimony to the depth of his love.

In Brother Lawrence that quiet, reserved love spilled over to touch and include many others, friends who grew up with Larry or who shared moments of his life —personal and professional, great and small, joyful and challenging — people who became his companions on life’s journey, most especially his confreres, the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The measure of a man can certainly be found in such people: those who made up his every day.

No one of us among his family or friends believes that Larry’s life was long enough at nine decades even amidst his physical suffering these last months. And, yet we respond in faith, as Isaiah the prophet tells us, “the Lord will save us and destroy death.” It is, indeed, our faith that reminds us: For the believer, for people of faith, the true measure of a man lies in his efforts to please God. Larry did this with the help of God’s grace so that “even in his affliction he received God’s glory beyond comparison.”

Larry shared that conviction of faith and his life has pleased God. He believed, as Luke affirms, that “he should be awake when the Master knocks.” Larry lived a wholesome and vigilant life because his eyes were on the prize of eternal life. He lived and died for the Lord! It is to the Lord, above all and Him alone to whom we shall give an accounting for our life.

And what a life Larry lived! From his earliest years growing up in Brooklyn and Queens, Larry “lived a whole life.” He excelled in school and had a keen interest in athletics and an admiration of the Brothers who taught him at St. Augustine High School. As a result, Larry went off to the Barrytown Juniorate since he was sure that he wanted to serve the Church and youth as a Brother of the Christian Schools. After graduation from Catholic University he embarked upon his life’s ministry as a teacher of mathematics, physics, and until 1972, a religion teacher. He participated in continuing professional development and earned his master’s degree in mathematics at Manhattan College.

In 1976 our friendship of three dozen years began. We were both members of a wonderful community of Brothers, 27 in number, associated with the GREAT La Salle in Providence, RI. Here Larry, inheriting the mantle of athletic leadership from Brother Antony of Jesus Hart, was destined to continue to live a “whole and happy life” and in the process, to do great things as Director of Athletics and moderator of the football team. Larry presided over an athletic program that encompassed 12 sports, 24 teams, a legion of coaches and his all important Brothers who served as Team Moderators. During these years he also managed to teach three algebra 2/trig classes where he ventured, although fleetingly, into utilizing the media of the day…the overhead projector and film loops. What I recall about Larry during these years was his ability to rally others in support of community activities, the sports program, and all things La Salle. He especially enjoyed celebrating Saturdays during fall season. While most of the Brothers were engaged with our teams and activities there was Larry lining the field, working with the student managers to ensure that all equipment was in order and uniforms were ready for the game; joining the team at the Grotto in prayer; watching the game from the sidelines, Larry, his well-worn maroon jacket covering his robe, pacing with quick step, cheering on the team until the final moments of victory or defeat. Later in the afternoon he would join a congregation that comprised Brothers, neighbors, football players and their parents for the celebration of the Liturgy in our chapel. And then off to Lums with two cars full of Brothers where he would enjoy a good time while attacking his usual entrée called “The Works.”

After La Salle, scores of students at five Lasallian schools benefitted from his patient teaching style and his uncanny ability to challenge the talented, encourage the fearful, and coax the reluctant learner. In these schools Larry was known to his colleagues as the meticulous teacher who prepared diligently as if he had not taught the content before.

And, yet, the measure of this Brother’s life was never his job or his title or even his many unsung accomplishments. The measure of Larry’s life can be found in his character, in his optimism, in his joy and great sense of humor, in his courage, in his passion for what was good and true and right, in his love of God and of family and of friends and especially over a period of 13 years his beloved Brothers of Saint Peter’s, Staten Island, a community he described as “really liking one another and very fraternal.”

The passing of anyone we love moves us to question: what is the measure of a man? And whatever your answer may be, whatever our answer may be, we can be sure that the measure of a man is not found in words or titles or length of days but, rather, in deeds done, in a life lived, in a love shared and in the beliefs that made it so. The Gospel of St. Matthew tells us: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the merciful, clean of heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted, the just” (Matthew 5: 1-12) … these are the measure of a Christian man. For Larry Hinrichs, a dedicated son of John Baptist de La Salle, the measure of this Brother lies in the fulfillment of the words of our Founder, paraphrased here, “the greatest miracle you can perform, and one which will be required of you, is to touch the hearts, nurture the souls, spark the minds and inspire the lives of the students entrusted to your care.”

For Larry Hinrichs, that promise and miracle has been fulfilled. Amen

Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of
Br. Lawrence Hinrichs, FSC

Born William John Hinrichs in Brooklyn, NY on April 5, 1932

Entered the Barrytown Juniorate on September 2, 1948, and Novitiate on June 26, 1949

Received the Religious Habit and Name, Brother Angelus Lawrence, on September 7, 1949

Pronounced Perpetual Vows at Barrytown, NY in 1957

Brother Lawrence died at De La Salle Hall, Lincroft, NJ, on September 25, 2012


Friday, September 28, 2012

Viewing from 9:30 – 11:00 am
Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am

De La Salle Hall
810 Newman Springs Road
Lincroft, NJ 07738-1608

Burial at St. Gabriel’s Cemetery, Marlboro, NJ
Lunch to follow at De La Salle Hall


District: 50 masses
De La Salle Hall community: 30 masses
Each community in the District: 1 mass

Brother Lawrence died peacefully after about one week in palliative care at De La Salle Hall. May he rest in peace.


Tour of Duty

Providence, RI
La Salle Academy

Troy, NY
La Salle Institute

Brooklyn, NY
Bishop Loughlin Memorial H S

Newport, RI
De La Salle Academy

Providence, RI
La Salle Academy

teacher and athletic director
Providence, RI
La Salle Academy

Albany, NY
Christian Brothers Academy

Buffalo, NY
St. Joseph Collegiate Institute

Pawtucket, RI
St. Raphael Academy

teacher and finance director
Staten Island, NY
St. Peter’s Boys H S

Caregiver to sick Mother
Sun City Center, FL

Lincroft, NJ
Christian Brothers Academy Community

Bronx, NY
St. Raymond H S

Staten Island, NY
St. Peter’s Boys H S

Lincroft, NJ
De La Salle Hall

May the soul of Brother Lawrence, and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.