Catholics in Louisiana are mourning the death of Dominican priest and pastor Father Edward Everitt, who was found robbed and murdered on July 11.
“Fr. Ed was a man of great energy, both preaching and caring for others,” the Southern Dominican Province said in a statement released after his death. The province said the late priest will be “profoundly missed by his blood family, his Dominican family and all whom he has served as a Dominican and priest over his many years of ministry.”
Baton Rouge Bishop Robert W. Muench said in a letter to the faithful that the death of Fr. Everitt “leaves a deeply-felt void” in the Catholic community.
“Together we pray to the Author of all life to provide Father Ed with the peace of eternal life,” Bishop Muench said. “May our grief be seen in that perspective as we thank God for his valued life and priestly ministry.”
A Florida handyman confessed to shooting and killing Fr. Everitt at a beachfront house in Mississippi, according to the Associated Press. Police say Jeremy Wayne Manieri, 31, stole the priest's money and car to take his ex-wife and children to Disney World.
In the past, Manieri had reportedly worked on the house which Fr. Everitt and other Dominicans would frequent for weekend retreats.
“I think they were trying to help him out and he did some work there,” said Fr. Cayet Mangiaracina, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Pompeii church in Louisiana, in an interview with the Associated Press.
The parochial vicar said the Dominicans may not have known about Manieri's extensive criminal background.
Police think that Manieri may have used Everitt's own gun, which he reportedly carried for self-defense, to kill him.
Fr. Everitt was the pastor of Holy Ghost and Our Lady of Pompeii Churches in Louisiana. He joined the Dominicans in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1968.
Services will be held at Holy Ghost Catholic Church on July 16.