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Catholic Caucus: Death of Catholic evangelist Larry Lewis
Tulsa World ^
Posted on 01/28/2003 6:59:26 AM PST by Polycarp
Lewis By Staff reports 1/26/2003
LEWIS -- Larry A., 58, died unexpectedly January 23, 2003 in his home. Larry was born June 22, 1944 in Visalia, CA to Rev. Leslie and Laura Lewis. He is survived by: his wife, Joetta; his parents; his sister, Joey Heidemann; his children, Lorianne and Steve Hopper, Lisa and Gene Hodson, Kelly and Chad Alexander; and his 7 grandchildren, Andrew and Philip Hopper, Jordan, Benjamin and Baylee Hodson and Ashley and Austin Alexander. Larry received his Master's of Divinity from Phillips Theological Seminary and Doctorate of Ministry (abd) from Oral Roberts University. His studies were focused on "The Use of Catholic Apologetics As A Means of Reconciliation Between Protestants and Catholics." Larry served for 30 years as a Protestant minister before being received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and he dedicated the remainder of his life to the reconciliation of Protestants and Catholics. The viewing will be on Monday, January 27, 2003 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fitzgerald's South. A Rosary will be held on Monday, January 27, 2003 at 7 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be held on January 28, 2003 at 10 a.m. Both services will be held at the Church of St. Benedict in Broken Arrow, OK. Fitzgerald Southwood Colonial Chapel, 291-3500.
Larry Lewis was a member of St. Benedict's in Broken Arrow, OK, and a nationally known Catholic lay evangelist, founder of the One Body ministry. His funeral is today. He is a great loss to the Church in America. "
posted on 01/28/2003 6:59:26 AM PST
Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon him.
posted on 01/28/2003 7:00:41 AM PST
To: *Catholic_list; .45MAN; AKA Elena; al_c; american colleen; Angelus Errare; Antoninus; ...
Tax-chick requested that we remember Larry this day in our prayers. He was a member of her parish.
posted on 01/28/2003 7:01:52 AM PST
May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.
posted on 01/28/2003 8:53:26 AM PST
Thank you so much for your help, sir!
I just returned from Larry's funeral. His father, the Pentecostal minister; his mother, sister, and many non-Catholic family members were present.
Please pray that the grace of conversion will come to many through Larry's intercession.
posted on 01/28/2003 9:52:21 AM PST
Cynthia, I will pray for the grace for conversions and for the needs of all of Larry's family.
posted on 01/28/2003 1:57:10 PM PST
(+ Jezu ufam tobie +)
Thank you, Siobhan. His wife Joetta will need many prayers; they were a very close couple.
Larry was a great man! He gave up his 30-year career as a Protestant minister; gave up his income, his pension, his house, and many family relationships, out of love for the Blessed Mother and the Blessed Sacrament.
I'll consider myelf a "success" as a mother, if my children are ready to make the same sacrifices, if necessary.
posted on 01/28/2003 2:41:09 PM PST
For those who don't know who Larry Lewis was, I'm posting this article I wrote for our local Catholic homeschool association newsletter.
Last week, a man died in Tulsa - a man who, by the worlds standards, was a fool and a failure. Ten years ago, Larry Lewis was a prominent and successful Protestant minister and gospel singer. He pastored a United Methodist church and was working toward his PhD at Oral Roberts University. Then, Gods mysterious providence began to lead Larry in an unexpected direction.
A coworker of Larrys wife Joetta began studying the Catholic Faith. Hoping to convince her friend of the errors of Catholicism, Joetta brought home Catholic materials for Larry, with his Bible knowledge, to refute. To their surprise, they found that all the Catholic teachings were consistent with Scripture. In a remarkably short time, the Lewises realized that they faced a frightening future.
Larry could not continue as a Protestant minister, knowing that he could never feed his flock the true food, the Body and Blood of Christ. He resigned his position, sacrificing his status, his salary and his pension. A week later, Joetta was laid off from her job, leaving the couple without income.
The Lewises were received into the Catholic Church in the late 1990s at St. Benedicts. Unsure what their future held, they sold their house in Tulsa and went on a pilgrimage to Rome. They returned with a commission from the Holy Father, to serve the Church by working for reconciliation among Christians. The Lewises shared their story and their vision of One Body with Catholic and Protestant groups around the country. Their ministry touched many souls.
Then, after only a few years in his new apostolate, Larry suddenly died at the age of 58. To all outward appearances, his great sacrifice produced very little fruit. Why, then, was the crowd at his funeral singing joyfully to God, through their tears? Because Christ has overcome the world. Because, knowing Larry Lewis and his story, they knew that he gladly gave up everything else out of love for Christ in the Eucharist and the Holy Catholic Church. Because they knew that true success is determined by who you are, not by what you do or have, and Larry was a person who could give up his career, his security, and his familys approval out of love for the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Mother. He was successful beyond all human comprehension.
How do we measure success, as homeschooling parents? What do we want to see our children achieve? Maybe we see success in high test scores, victories in academic or sporting competitions, popularity, admission to prestigious universities, scholarships. Do we look for our children to achieve a commitment to authentically Catholic life, or a faith that will stand up to trials? If we imagine their bright futures
high school, college, graduate school, careers
do we also see the other side of the worlds view of success
years of single life, endless threats to purity, late marriage, debt, workaholism, contraception, infertility, day care, divorce
indifference to the Catholic Faith?
As adults, is our success measured by our professions, salaries, houses, cars, trips, social prominence
or by our growth in holiness, our increasing ability to lay down our lives for others, our growing detachment from the things of the world, our greater love for Christ, His mother, His commandments, and His Church?
Maybe any unexpected death could raise questions of this kind. If these reflections seem a little extreme, its because Larry Lewis was not just any friend or fellow parishioner. He was a giant. In the last two years, God has taken two of the mighty men of our Diocese, Larry, and Deacon Lee Ellis. We can be sure that God also wills to raise up many more to fill their places. Who will they be? Some were in the congregation at Larrys funeral. Some are sitting near us, in our parishes, every Sunday. Some may be our sons, or our husbands. All of them need to be called forth, encouraged, and challenged to see beyond the world, to see God and give everything for Him, right now, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Robin Mark, a Protestant musician and evangelist in Northern Ireland, is like Larry Lewis in working tirelessly for reconciliation among Christians. He wrote these words, which speak eloquently of why Larry Lewis was a success, in the only true meaning of the word:
When its all been said and done,
There is just one thing that matters:
Did I do my best to live for Truth?
Did I live my life for You?
When its all been said and done,
All my treasures will be nothing;
Only what Ive done for Loves reward
Will stand the test of time.
Lord, your mercy is so great,
That you look beyond our weakness,
And find purest gold in miry clay,
Making sinners into saints!
And I will always sing Your praise,
Here on earth and ever after.
For Youve shown me Heavens my true home,
When its all been said and done,
Youre my life, when life is done.
posted on 01/29/2003 1:57:49 PM PST
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