A funeral Mass for Father Richard Boever, CSsR, will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at St. Clement Mission Community Chapel in Liguori. Father Richard died Jan. 29 at the Desert House Mission Community in Tucson, Arizona. Father Richard expressed his creativity and talents throughout his 50 years of ministry, but he may be best remembered for promoting devotion to and authoring books about two renowned Redemptorists who ministered in the United States: St. John Neumann, CSsR, and Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, CSsR.
Richard Andrew Boever was born on May 13, 1947, to Andrew and Clara Boever in St. Louis. He and his siblings – three brothers and a sister – grew up in Holy Family Parish and attended parochial school. His interest in a priestly vocation was sparked in first grade and cemented by the sixth grade, when he served Mass for a Redemptorist preaching a novena at his home parish.
He enrolled at St. Joseph’s College in Edgerton, Wisconsin, in 1961, where his artistic talents began to blossom and he formed lifelong friendships with his classmates. He was accepted into novitiate at Blessed John Neumann College in Clinton, Iowa, in 1967 and professed temporary vows on Aug. 2, 1968. After completing theology studies at Holy Redeemer College in Waterford, Wisconsin, and Mount St. Alphonsus Seminary in Esopus, New York, he professed perpetual vows on Aug. 21, 1971. He and his classmates returned to Holy Redeemer College for their ordination to the priesthood by Auxiliary Bishop Leo J. Brust of Milwaukee on June 21, 1973.
After a brief stint at St. Michael Parish in Chicago, Father Richard was assigned to Mary, Mother of the Church Parish in south St. Louis County in 1975. After four years, he joined the staff of Liguori Publications in Liguori. Although he was working full time as an editor from 1979-87, he managed to earn a doctoral degree in historical theology at Saint Louis University.
Father Richard was appointed local superior and pastor of St. Gerard Majella Parish in Kirkwood in 1987. After three years, he returned to Liguori Publications as publisher and local superior of the Liguori Mission House community. He served in those positions from 1990-92, when he was assigned pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Chicago. He ventured into retreat ministry in 1996, when he was assigned at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, Kansas. He excelled in retreat ministry and also served as a chaplain and associate professor of theology at nearby Newman University. Five years later, he was chosen to fill an unexpected vacancy at the PreNovitiate formation house as director of St. John Neumann House in St. Louis in 2001.
He also served as local community superior from 2002-05 and taught theology at Saint Louis University. Father Richard returned to retreat ministry in 2005 as director of the Redemptorist Retreat Center in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He delved into pottery and weaving, honoring his contemplative spirit and passion for working with his hands. He spun his own yarn and wove it into beautiful cloths that were true pieces of art. He added weaving retreats to the program agenda and thoroughly enjoyed five years living on the shores of Crooked Lake.
He was appointed to the Mission Team at Liguori Mission House in 2010, a few months before Liguori Publications published his book, “Saint John Neumann: His Writings and Spirituality.” This position provided him with the flexibility to serve as a research expert at the Neumann Shrine in Philadelphia for three years and then as pastor of three rural parishes in Missouri: Holy Cross in Cuba, St. Francis in Bourbon and St. Michael in Steelville. He enjoyed the country life, especially growing bountiful crops of vegetables in his garden.
Father Richard was appointed executive director of the National Shrine of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos in New Orleans in 2019. He enjoyed promoting devotion to Blessed Seelos and wrote “ZEALOUS MISSIONARY: From the Perspective of Francis Xavier Seelos,” published by Liguori Publications in 2021. He was granted retirement status in 2023 and moved to the Desert House Mission Community, where he was placed in hospice care shortly before his death.
Burial will be in Liguori Cemetery.