The library of Immaculate Conception Seminary is a theological research library, but also is meant to assist in the preparation of men for priestly ministry in the Catholic Church. Since its foundation, this library has always had a priest as its director. Father Lawrence Porter, who currently serves as Director of the Seminary Library, taught Systematic Theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology for 32 years, from 1988-2020. During that time, he published two books in theology and 34 articles, and he served for several years as chairman of the Department of Systematic Theology.
Now, as full-time Seminary Library Director, Father Porter is assisted by a professional librarian, Stella Wilkins. He is thus able to dedicate much of his time to building up and to featuring the specifically religious character of Immaculate Conception Seminary's library. For example, over the years, he has built up this library's collection of recordings of religious music and videos. The current website of the Seminary library features two essays by Father Porter: one is his explanation of one of the works fo religious art in this library, and the other is an essay promoting this library's collection of recorded music for worship.
Over the years, Father Porter has also mounted in this Seminary library several displays of historical and biblical artifacts, in its main reading room and in its rare book room. These displays feature rare works such as an autograph letter from Bishop Fulton Sheen and an autograph letter from Cardinal Newman. Father Porter has also assembled historical artifacts such as Roman dice and Roman nails, Roman historical artifacts which receive prominent reference in the Bible. Father Porter has also framed portraits of the Seminary faculty over the years and featured certain faculty who made outstanding contributions not only to this Seminary but also to their profession, either by publication or professional assistance and professional participation in pastoral and educational works. Father Porter is currently working on framed portrait tributes to Monsignor James Turro, after whom Immaculate Conception Seminary's library is named, and to recently-retired Professor Zenobia Fox.
- Ph.D., M.A., Vanderbilt University
- S.T.L., S.T.B., Pontifical Faculty of the Dominican House of Studies
- M.A., Brown University
- B.A., Providence College
- The Assault on Priesthood, Wipf & Stock, 2012
- A Guide to the Church: Its Origin and Nature, Its Mission and Ministries, Alba House, 2008
- "Sheep and Shepherd: An Ancient Image of the Church and a Contemporary Challenge", Gregorianum 82, 51-85, January 2001
- Salt of the Earth, Homiletic and Pastoral Review XCV, 51-58, July 1995
- "The Summa Contra Gentiles III, Questions 161-165: A Rare Glimpse into the Heart as Well as the Mind of Aquinas", The Thomist 58, 245-263, October 1994
- "Principles of Collegiality from Portraits of Presbyteral Assemblies in Acts", The Jurist 51, 81-102, April 1991
- "On Keeping ‘Persons’ in the Trinity", Theological Studies 41, 530-548, September 1980
Father Porter has published 34 essays. Several appeared in theological quarterlies such as Theological Studies, The Thomist, Gregorianum, Communio, The Jurist, and American Benedictine Review. Others appeared in such pastoral journals as The Bible Today, The Saint Austin Review, and Homiletic and Pastoral Review. Some were published in such magazines as Crisis, The Priest, and The New Oxford Review.
- Father Porter has been the recipient of four research grants from Seton Hall University's Research Council (1989, 1993, 1994, and 1995), and of the Provost's Award for Publication (2009), and in 2014 he was given the honor of "Researcher of the Year."