The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Fr. Lawrence Boadt dies

When I was in formation, I spent many weeks lugging around a massive volume “Reading the Old Testament” by Fr. Lawrence Boadt. (My shoulder still hasn’t recovered.) A couple years later, I actually got to meet Fr. Boadt at the offices of Paulist Press in New Jersey, and I told him he loomed so large in my studies, “I feel like I’m meeting Elvis.” 
He seemed amused. 


Well, word came from the Paulists today that Fr. Boadt has died, after a long illness. 
Elvis has left the building. 

Deacon Bill Ditewig, who wrote several books for Paulist on the diaconate, broke the news to me in an e-mail and noted: “Without Larry’s personal decision in 2003 affirming the priority for publishing books ‘by, for and about’ deacons, we wouldn’t have had any of the books on the shelf. ” “The shelf” Bill refers to is the unique and invaluable Paulist “Deacon’s Library,” which includes now-standard texts that have become required reading in formation programs around the country (including, of course, several tomes by Deacon Ditewig.)


One of Boadt’s editors, my friend (and editor of the Deacon Library) Kevin diCamillo dropped me an e-mail and said:

I just got back from a week long inaugural Yale Publishing Course and one of the questions asked incessantly was “Are Publishers Necessary”?

For the diaconate in the past decade they were and remain so. It was Fr. Boadt– who took NONE of the credit– who imagined, and built the Paulist Press Deacon Library, now up to 14 titles, with two more in production and four more under contract. Sales are in the tens of thousands.

What Father Boadt did for the diaconate in the English-speaking world is attested to by the high-sales number of the Paulist Press deacon books and, frankly, a better-informed and better-educated diaconate.


A world without Fr. Boadt? Might as well throw out Ferraris, The Met, Stradivarias violins, and the female sex as well.

The release from the Paulists has a biography:

Born the son of attorneys Loren A. and Eleanor (Power) Boadt in 1942, Father Boadt grew up in the St. Paul the Apostle parish located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Paulist archivist Father John Lynch was newly ordained when he first met Father Boadt, then a fifth-grader in the parish school. Father Lynch recalls seeing the makings of a priest in the young altar server and Cub Scout.

“He was dependable and enjoyed serving the church,” Father Lynch said. He noted that Father Boadt kept his close association with St. Paul’s as a student at Loyola High School in Los Angeles; he graduated from Loyola in 1960. Father Lynch was not surprised to hear the young man entered the Paulist novitiate on Sept. 6, 1962. He was ordained a Paulist priest on February 22, 1969.


Father Boadt earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Paul’s College Washington, D.C., master’s and licentiate in sacred theology degrees from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and licentiate in sacred Scripture and doctoral degree in biblical studies and Near Eastern languages from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

“That was extraordinary,” observed Father Lynch. “Not many people can accomplish that, as the mastery of ancient languages is incredibly difficult. He was the type of priest who could do anything.”

Father Boadt’s first priestly assignment was as associate pastor at St. Andrew’s parish in Clemson, S.C., from February to October of 1969. Father Boadt then headed to Rome for advanced Scripture studies where he served on the parish staff at Santa Susanna, the Paulist parish in the city.


Father Boadt returned to the United States to teach at Fordham University in New York City from 1974-76 while becoming an editor at the Paulist Press in 1975. He taught at St. John’s University in Queens from 1975-76 while still working at Paulist Press.

He returned to Washington, D.C., as associate professor of Sacred Scripture at the Washington Theological Union, where he taught from 1976-1997.

“There was a program for working students where they took a 3-hour class once a week, and he could still keep the students engaged through that long class after they had worked all day,” said Father Lynch, who taught at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C. for many years. “He was a superb teacher.”


Father Boadt continued as editor at the Paulist Press, becoming vice president in 1997. He had served as publisher and president of Paulist Press from 1998 until his illness in 2010.

According to Father Lynch, Father Boadt continued the Paulist work of evangelization through the printed word while expanding the Press’ extraordinary contribution to ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, especially Christian-Jewish relations.

“Building on the work of his predecessor Father Kevin Lynch, there is no publisher in North America who has done more to advance Catholic-Jewish relations than Larry Boadt,” said Father Michael B. McGarry, president of the Paulist Fathers.

Father Boadt authored several books, including “Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction,” “Jeremiah 26-52,” “Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Nahum,” and “Jeremiah 1-25.” He also edited many titles, such as “Why I Am A Priest: 30 Success Stories” and “The Life of St. Paul.”


“His legacy will be his writings,” said Father Lynch, noting “Reading the Old Testament” is one of the most widely used texts in Scripture courses. “This is a big loss for the Paulists.”

And, of course, for deacons, too. The Paulist release has details about the funeral.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…

Comments read comments(13)
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Ruth Ann

posted July 24, 2010 at 8:41 pm

I, too, had Fr. Boadt’s book, “Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction,” when I studied theology a decade ago. It is frequently quoted in commentaries and included in Scripture bibliographies. I heard him when he spoke at the L.A. Religious Education Congress, and his talks were wonderful. I’m sad to hear of his death. His lose will be felt, and may he rest in peace.

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posted July 24, 2010 at 11:20 pm

What a great guy. I had three or four summer classes with Fr. Boadt at St. Elizabeth’s in Morristown in recent years. He said that offering those classes was his gift to the church. And Paulist Press is such a great publishing house. I thought Fr. Boadt was in the midst of revising “Reading the Old Testament” but, of course, I’m sure he was all kinds of busy until he couldn’t.

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Rev. Charles Pinyan

posted July 24, 2010 at 11:33 pm

“Father Larry” occasionally celebrated Sunday Mass in our parish, even during his illness. He was gracious, pleasant, a good preacher and celebrant. He gave a wonderful talk here during the “Year of St. Paul.” We will miss him.

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Deacon Eric Stoltz

posted July 25, 2010 at 12:28 am

I am stunned. Not only do I remember being so inspired by Fr. Boadt’s book on the Old Testament during diaconate formation, but he was also the one who decided to publish my book, “Ascend: The Catholic Faith for a New Generation.” He was a true legend and he will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.

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posted July 25, 2010 at 8:00 pm

I used his book in graduate theology as well, it’s still on my shelf – a testament to what I learned about the Old Testament.

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posted July 26, 2010 at 9:35 am

Fr. Boadt moderated our community Mass at Good Shepherd for over twenty years at Good Shepherd. Although he often traveled the world over to teach, lecture and guide tours, he always returned home with a kind spirit and full of energy to invigorate the community. Although the Paulist pulled out of Good Shepherd in 2007, we still maintained close contact with him. We were privileged to participate in the last Mass he celebrated at Paulist Press in June. He will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.

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posted July 26, 2010 at 11:40 pm

I thought “Reading the Old Testament” was a great book (it still is). Sorry to learn of his passing.

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Gene and JoAnn Buffo

posted July 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm

We first became aware of Fr. Boadt’s masterful teaching at the Naples Florida Education for Parish Service program, and then as a priest in residence at the Chautauqua Catholic Community in western New York. He has been joining in the annual reunion of graduates of EPS in Naples, where he also gave lenten teachings at St. William’s parish. His calm and humble demeanor belied his great intellect and fierce determination to succeed in his mission. He was also a fine holy land tour director, and was prepared to lead a tour this fall. His influence went outward to all who came under his gaze.
May he be blessed in equal measure as he has blessed those who love him.

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Dr. Thomas F. O'Brien, Deacon

posted July 29, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Father Boadt spent his whole life preparing for this day, as all of us should, when we meet the Lord face-to-face. As we and he prayed many times in Eucharist Prayer III, “On that, we shall see you our God as you are and we shall become like you and praise you forever.”
May his soul with all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

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Fausto Sanchez

posted August 2, 2010 at 9:14 am

I am currently in formation and I to can atest to his fantastic book, “Reading thre Old Testament”. We used it in first year. The study with my fellow brothers was lively and we still refer to Fr. Boadt’s book and comments. We had a chance to meet father 2 years ago in a workshop at religious congress. He will be missed but the grace and gifts he was given will live on to insipre men and women. May God bless him, rest in peace!!!

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donald mckiegan

posted June 27, 2011 at 4:42 pm

I had the pleasure of meeting Father Larry at a student outing in upstate New York, when he gave some precious time to a group of then present or former students:Of which I was one. I remember talking with Father Larry in private and sheding a few tears as we talked about something that happened in my life. The moment was comforting and reassured my faith.
God bless Father Larry Boadt.
With love,
Donald B. Mckiegan

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posted September 23, 2011 at 12:21 am

Larry was my cousin. He would be so touched by your comments and a bit shy. i miss him .

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restaurant japonais bio toulouse

posted September 30, 2014 at 6:56 am

Japoyaki (Japonais) Cette année, Japoyaki s’est étendu sur le trottoir
d’en face pour recevoir toujours plus de monde.

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