Father Eugene A. LaVerdiere, S.S.S., a leading American Scripture scholar and the senior editor of Emmanuel magazine, died Nov. 20 in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. He was 72 and had resided for many years at St. Jean Baptiste parish in Manhattan.
He was a distinguished lecturer at Fordham University and was local superior of the Blessed Sacrament community at St. Jean Baptiste prior to his retirement in 2005.
He also was national secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Union for the Clergy and Religious, and was a consultant for mission education of clergy and seminarians for the National Office of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in Manhattan.
He was also a provincial consultor of the American Province of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament and the director of formation.
Father LaVerdiere published scores of books and articles during a teaching and lecturing career that took him to Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and to every part of the United States.
He wrote extensively on the Gospel of Luke and also on Mark. A special focus of his study and writing were the various meal narratives in the Gospels and in other New Testament works. His last book, "Firstborn of God: the Birth of Mary's Son, Jesus, Luke: 2-21," written with Father Paul J. Bernier, S.S.S., was released in August 2007.
Born in Waterville, Me., he professed vows as a member of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1958 and was ordained in 1964.
A graduate of École Biblique in Jerusalem, he taught at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio, the Jesuit School of Theology and the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, and at Fordham.
He is survived by a sister, Sister Claudette LaVerdiere, M.M., a former president of the Maryknoll Sisters; and two brothers, Brother Gary LaVerdiere, S.S.S., and Peter LaVerdiere.
His uncle, Father William LaVerdiere, S.S.S., was pastor of St. Jean Baptiste from 1944 to 1958; he stayed on at the parish during a six-year term as provincial superior and then did pastoral work there until his retirement in 1985.
A Funeral Mass was offered Nov. 24 at St. Paschal Baylon Church in Highland Heights, Oh. A Memorial Mass will be offered at St. Jean Baptiste Church, 184 E. 76th St., Manhattan, on Saturday, Dec. 20, at 12:15 p.m.