ALBANY -- Monsignor Lawrence A. Lucree, 77, a priest in the Diocese of Savannah for over 50 years, died February 20, 2012 at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus after a long illness.

Visitation will begin at 5:00 p.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Americus with a Reflection on the Monsignor's Life at 6:30, and a Vigil Service and Rosary at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 23, 2012.

A viewing will be held at 9:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, February 24, 2012 with burial at the Catholic Cemetery.

A native Savannahian, Monsignor Lucree was ordained at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah in 1960. He said when he became an altar server at the age of 7 he decided he wanted to become a priest, and he never changed his mind. He ministered in 10 different Georgia cities, including Savannah, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Columbus, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Augusta, St. Teresa's Catholic Church in Albany, St Joseph's Catholic Church in Jesup, Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Valdosta, Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Lakeland, St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Cordele, St. Matthew Parish in Statesboro, and St. Mary's Catholic Church in Americus. He considered rural missions one of the most fulfilling aspects of his ministry. He established missions that became St. Boniface Catholic Church in Springfield and St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Buena Vista.

Another highlight was encouraging young Georgia men to consider pursuing a religious vocation. He also traveled to Colombia, South America seeking to recruit candidates for the priesthood. In 2008 he was honored by Pope Benedict XVI when he was given the title of "Monsignor".

In lieu of flowers, St. Mary's Catholic Church suggests memorial contributions to the Priest Retirement Fund, 601 E. Liberty St., Savannah, GA 31401. To sign the online guest book, please visit www.hancockfuneralhomeinc.com.

Hancock Funeral Home

Americus 229/924-3645

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