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    Raymond Debeuckelaere

    Raymond Debeuckelaere

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                                         Raymond Debeuckelaere (1932-2022) 

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       Born in Roeselare (Belgium), May 13, 1932

       He was a missionary in Congo (Kasayi) and Belgium.

       Died in Torhout (Belgium), March 9, 2022, at the age of 89.

     

     

     

    After studying philosophy in Nechin and theology in Kessel-Lo and Louvain (Belgium), Raymond left for the Congo in 1958. His active missionary life was divided into two well-defined parts: 16 years in the Congo (from 1958 to 1974) and 35 years in the diocese of Bruges (from 1974 to 2009). During both periods, he was involved in educational work and parish ministry.

    In the Congo, he spent seven years in Muetshi as director of the elementary school and as a traveling priest, then as a traveling priest in Mayi Munene, Luebo, Ndekesha, and Kitangua. He followed the same rhythm in the second period: chaplain and educator for eleven years at “Our Children” home in Rumbeke, then co-pastor in Lendelede, Gistel, and finally a resident priest in the Gistel federation in Zevekote. Since 2003 he was also general director of the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul in Lendelede.

    Since his first period as a traveling priest, Raymond had learned not to wait for people to come to him, but to go to them himself. People appreciated his door-to-door visits very much. He was known as the cordial pastor who found his joy in liturgy, preaching, and meeting people. Unfortunately, an invisible evil struck him: he became deaf, really deaf. He had often been alone because of his work, but his deafness increased his feelings of loneliness and of not being understood.

    In 2009, when Raymond was 77 years old, he went to rest in Torhout, where he took on mail carrier and sacristan tasks, among other things. He did this with great dedication and punctuality. He was dependent on a walker in recent years, which prevented him from presiding at the liturgy. This hurt him. Raymond had not opened the doors of his heart much. He knew that the Father sees in secret. He had also led a very sober and healthy life, and there was no reason to expect that he would die so suddenly. After a short stay in the hospital, he returned to his community after much convincing and died peacefully the next day.  

    Fernand Degroote, Arnold Quartier and Werner Lesage


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