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    Our dear departed

    Raymondus Van De Vijver

    Raymondus Van De Vijver

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    Frederic Vital Mees smallRaymondus Van De Vijver (1927-2021)

     

    Born in Oordegem, (Belgium) on January 26, 1927.

    He was a missionary in Japan.

    Died in Nibuno, Himeji (Japan) on September 4, 2021,

    at the age of 94.

     

    Raymond was the fourth of thirteen children born to a farmer family in Oordegem (East Flanders, Belgium) and was simply known as “Mon” in everyday conversation. Mon entered CICM in 1947 after studying humanities in Wetteren and Gent. In 1952, he was ordained a priest and assigned to the mission in Japan. In 1953, he made his first departure.

    After his language studies, he worked for 12 years as a vicar in Tamashima, Ikuno, Tottori, and Okayama parishes. He also taught at Notre Dame Women’s College for a short time. Following that, he served as a parish priest in Ikuno, Kurashiki, Tamashima, Kasaoka, and, last but not least, in Toyooka for nearly 30 years. In addition, he taught religion part-time at a Catholic middle school for boys for thirteen years and two years at a Catholic women’s college in Himeji.

    Mon came to the CICM Residence in Nibuno in 2012 for a well-deserved rest following a fruitful apostolate in his adopted country of Japan. He was a cheerful and optimistic person. So much so that wherever he was, there was always laughter and joy. Therefore, it is no surprise that all loved Mon. In addition, he kept in touch with people from the parishes where he had previously worked.

    Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep, and they know me” (Jn10:14). This can be applied to Mon. The parishioners’ faith was strengthened by their trust and affection for their pastor. He conveyed the peace and joy of Christ to sick and lonely individuals through his countless home calls and visits to the sick and lonely persons while praying with them. According to his own narrative, his time as a religion teacher in the schools was also a very important moment for him.

    A bow, on the other hand, cannot always remain bent. The annual summer camps at the seashore with the Sunday school children gave him a perfect break. Every year he went on a motorcycle trip with Gerard De Gendt, during which the parishioners of Toyooka prayed fervently for the safe return of their beloved pastor.

    Mon’s hard fall as he walked out of the chapel after evening prayers marked the start of a path of suffering that would last until his death after a long and fruitful mission apostolate.

    Mon was a shining light in our community: always upbeat, positive, and enthusiastic. Mon’s unique and amusing expressions are likely to be remembered by the confreres who have lived with him. Dear Mon, it was a pleasure to spend time with you at Nibuno. Your positivity brought comfort not only to us but to countless people who knew you. For which I say “arigato” (thanks) a thousand times. 

    Andre Bogaert

     

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