Fr. Ernest Falardeau, S.S.S., presented this homily on Sunday, May 16, 2004 at St. Jean Baptiste Church, New York City, at the Mass honoring Fr. Eugene LaVerdiere for his 40th Anniversary of Ordination.
The Scriptures for today could not be more appropriate for our reflection on this Fortieth Anniversary of Fr. Eugene LaVerdiere
It strikes me as significant that we reflect on the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit on this fortieth anniversary of Fr. Eugene LaVerdiere's
All of his
priesthood has been spent in finding inspiration for people's lives in the Scriptures.
has not only done creative work and writing.
has inspired students, participants in continuing education of adults, priests and bishops in retreats, and conferences across the world.
has left a legacy of writings on the Scripture that have established a lasting reputation among his
But my purpose is not so much to laud his
works as to share with you some insights into the man. Looking over these forty years I can remember Gene
even before his
ordination and recall how his
love of Scripture was already evident as he
studied in Cleveland to prepare himself for the priesthood.
It was clear he
would specialize in Scripture.
With that in mind, he
immediately went to Rome after ordination to study for the licentiate at the Angelicum and the Ecole Biblique de Jerusalem.
added a Ph.D. from Fordham with primary emphasis on the New Testament.
What is to be admired in Gene
sure-footed ability to see far beyond the moment.
understood long before others the direction of Vatican II and its implications for the life of the church.
The primary emphasis on Scripture was not something he
needed to be taught.
already absorbed it as he
studied the texts and their importance.
appreciates exegesis, the meaning of texts.
is an expert in this field.
focused on hermeneutics - the meaning of the texts for preaching, integration in the lives of clergy and laity.
popular appeal and attraction for people of all walks of life.
In our Congregation, Gene
has been a leader and one who helped to chart the course of our Province and our Congregation.
served many terms under a number of Provincials.
He was continuously the delegate to our General Chapters during the time and work of our implementation of the Vatican Council to our Rule of Life . His wisdom, foresight and practical sense and scholarship helped him and us to move forward with a renewal that was not always understood, but always on track.
is a man of peace.
is a man of principle.
has always wanted the reconciliation of different views, not the exclusion of those of another point of view.
In this respect, I believe the guiding principle of the first council of Jerusalem served him well.
Unity in the essentials, freedom in non-essentials and charity in all things.
we continue to learn fidelity, loyalty, dedication
, love of God, church and neighbor.
We learn perseverance and hard work.
We learn an optimism and hope for the future that continues to carry us forward.
is a lover of tradition, the classics, the arts and music.
began early on to collect the writings of the Fathers of the Church, their commentaries on the Scriptures and their contributions to understanding their teaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Above all, Gene
is a lover of the Eucharist and has written classic works on the Eucharist in the New Testament, notably Dining in the Kingdom.
We are all aware that in the past year Gene
has had to give up his
teaching position at Fordham University
due to primary aphasia which has curtailed his
ability to speak.
continues to teach, even if not in words.
speaks through his
good humor, his
interest in people and the world around him.
continues to minister in many ways to the people of God in the parish.
I'm sure his
ministry continues through the written word as well.