He attended local elementary and secondary schools, St. Brendan’s College, Killarney from 1932 to 1937 and St. Kieran’s Seminary, Kilkenny from 1937 to 1943.
He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of San Diego by Most Reverend Patrick Collier, Bishop of Ossory on June 6, 1943 in St. Kevin’s College, Kilkenny, Ireland.
Msgr. Lawlor served in prison ministry at the California Institute for Women in Chino. He continued to serve in prison ministry for the newly established Diocese of San Bernardino in 1978 and was always ready to supply, celebrating Mass at St. George Parish.
In 1973, he was honored and named Chaplian to his Holiness by Blessed Paul VI with the title Monsignor.
Rosary and Vigil Service was held on June 19 at St. George Parish, Ontario and the Funeral Mass was held on June 20 at St. George Parish, Ontario. Committal Service was held at Bellevue Memorial Park, Ontario.