January 5, 1920 - April 20, 2011
A Jesuit for 71 years, Fr. Diederich was born in Greenleaf, Kan., January 5, 1920. He entered the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Mo., September 1, 1939. He completed a B.A. in Latin and Greek and a Ph.L. at Saint Louis University and taught as a scholastic at Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wis. Fr. Diederich was ordained to the priesthood June 19, 1952, at Saint Mary's College in Kansas.
After tertianship in Decatur, IL., he completed an S.T.D. in Liturgical Theology at the Gregorian University in Rome and did a post-doctorate at the Liturgical Institute of Trier, Germany.
In 1957, he began teaching dogmatic theology at Saint Mary's College. He continued this work at Saint Louis University when the Divinity School moved there in 1967.
A nationally known liturgist, Fr. Diederich taught many Jesuits how to put liturgical theory into practice in the celebration of the Eucharist and the other sacraments.
During those years he also provided his expertise to the province, helping with summer seminars on the liturgical changes of Vatican II and arranging and overseeing ordination Masses.
After the Divinity School closed, Fr. Diederich continued teaching theology at SLU for a short time before joining the faculty at Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, MA, where he taught liturgical theology.
In 1980, Fr. Diederich began 15 years of pastoral ministry in a variety of capacities and locations. He served as pastor or associate pastor at Saint Francis Xavier Church in Kansas City, MO, Saint Francis Xavier (College) Church in Saint Louis, Saint Mary's Church in Salina, KS, Saint Matthew's Cathedral in South Bend, IN, and Holy Trinity Parish in Trinidad, CO. From 1988-1991, he served as the director of liturgy in the Diocese of Fort Wayne, IN.
John Foley, SJ, director of Center for Liturgy, reflected on the wonderful caring and influence of Fr. Diederich in the lives of those around him.
"Fr. Everett was a great friend and colleague to me during all my years as a Jesuit and certainly in our mutual work for Catholic liturgy," Foley said.
"His long life of service, teaching and kindness are illustrated by his last days at Jesuit Hall as people came in and out to pray with him, to sing to him, to care for him. There were former students, current students, penitents, Jesuits, Dominicans, co-workers, family members, friends, and more. His last 15 years at Saint Louis University bore witness to the beauty and fidelity of all his years."
In 1996, Fr. Diederich returned to Saint Louis where he joined in the work of the Stroble Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University as a scholar-in-residence and chaplain to the Center's staff until the time of his death. He also served as a pastoral and sacramental minister at Saint Francis Xavier (College) Church.
Fr. Diederich was preceded in death by two sisters and three brothers. He is survived by several nieces and nephews.
Tribute prepared by Jeanette Grider, Saint Louis University.