Sad news today as Fr. Larry Boadt, a Paulist and a world class scripture scholar has died after a long illness. His masterpiece, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction is the industry standard for most scripture classes in Universities and Seminaries. I have friends who would only take his class at Catholic University instead of settling for anyone else. I usually peruse it each Saturday in an effort to understand Sunday’s first reading at mass better.
I first met Fr. Larry when Fr. Brett Hoover and I invited him to be a member of the first BustedHalo.com® advisory board. When we asked him what we should pursue with ministry for young adults he replied simply:
“Do something odd!”
And boy was he right. Nobody was really doing anything online of note in Catholic circles and Busted Halo® became the crown jewel of the Paulists Ministry very quickly.
When I finished my master’s thesis at Fordham, Fr. Michael Hunt and I had a conversation about possibly pursuing publishing it. I said to him that my advisor thought that it could be a book. After Fr. Hunt read it and liked it he simply sent it on to Fr. Larry, who all but immediately put it into the production rotation. I was so excited and honored. Writing a book was never a life-long dream of mine and for someone of Fr. Boadt’s stature to encourage me to work on this project that would become Googling God gave me lots of confidence and humbled me enough to think that I really, really needed to work hard on this. It was the one project that was really mine, that I did all by myself and the great Fr. Lawrence Boadt, CSP told me it was worth publishing.
If I had won a Nobel Prize I couldn’t have been more honored than I was to hear that Fr. Larry thought my work was worth publishing. Fr. Hunt, Fr. Kevin Lynch (Paulist Press’ President Emeritus) and eventually Fr. Mike Kerrigan, who saw the project through completion has lots to say about the project and then after a lot of consulting, re-writing and editing, Fr. Boadt gave the green light and we were into the final stages.
As I was walking the dog the other night I thought of Fr. Boadt during my evening Examen and I’m not sure why. I knew he was not well and I wanted to write him a final letter thanking him for publishing, Googling God and for being such a wonderful colleague. Perhaps those thoughts united with Fr. Larry’s soul because when I returned home, I found out that he had died.
So I hope that this small posting can serve as that “Thank You” to a man who really encouraged me in my ministry, my writing and who helped me with my own struggles with self-esteem, without really knowing that.
Thanks so much, Larry! This blog wouldn’t exist without you.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon you. May your soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Deacon Greg also has a great, great post about Fr. Larry where you’ll learn a lot more.