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    Our dear departed

    Fernand L. Vandenabeele

    Fernand L. Vandenabeele

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    Frederic Vital Mees smallFernand L. Vandenabeele (1937-2020)


    Born in Tollembeek (B) on November 7, 1937
    First vows on September 8, 1956
    Ordained Priest on August 6, 1961
    Missionary in Brazil and Belgium
    Died in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) on October 20, 2020, at the age of 82.

    I met Fernand (Ferre as we called him) when I was appointed to the parish of N. Sra da Conceição in the Conforto district of the city of Volta Redonda in 1973. We were a strong pastoral team. We worked together until 1976 when Ferre was appointed to a new position in Rio de Janeiro, where he became coordinator of CENFI, a study center of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference for foreign pas­toral and social agents.
    Fernand was highly appreciated in the Diocese of Nova Iguaçu. How many bishops did he work with during his 56 years in Brazil! Some of these bishops were very dear to him, particularly Dom Adriano, Dom Luciano, and the current bishop, Dom Gilson, who appointed him in 2019 as diocesan treasurer, a position that he held dear to his heart until the end of January 2020.
    Fernand was also a friend to all. Many diocesan priests would remem­ber him as their “spiritual director,” a French professor, or simply as a col­league and animator. How many doc­tors knew Fernand!  Not only as a pa­tient (following his bus accident six years ago) but also as Chaplain of the Urban Clinic of Nova Iguaçu, where he left very concrete traces.
    During the last four years, I met Fernand every day in our CICM house in California. During a lunch, Ferre could tell, as usual, always with his typical smile on his face and his squeaky eyes, stories, like a little mis­chievous with the many juicy anec­dotes!
    Later, coronavirus symptoms appeared, but no one will ever know where and when he came into contact with Covid-19.
    With gratitude for Fernand's life among us, we now pray for his New Peace with the Creator of All Life. ■

    (Excerpt from Bernard Masson's testimony about Fernand addressed to his brother and sister)