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    Our dear departed

    Mark Ockerman 

    Mark Ockerman 

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    Frederic Vital Mees smallMark Ockerman  (1944-2022)


    Born in Kitega (Burundi) October 4, 1944
    First vows on September 8, 1964
    Ordained a priest on July 26, 1969
    Missionary in Brazil and Belgium.
    Died in Halle (Belgium) on 14 May 2022
    at the age of 77.

    Mark went to Brazil in 1970 and worked in various parishes until 1985. It was there that his charism of youth ministry fully developed. Unsurprisingly, his Province of origin, Nord België (NB), asked for his assistance in guiding young missionary candidates in Belgium in 1985. He returned to Brazil a year later for pastoral work in Rosa dos Ventos and Itaguai from 1986 to 1992.

    In 2002, his home Province asked him again to participate in missionary animation and vocation pastoral work.

    It was at this period that Mark was appointed Vice-provincial of the CICM Province of NB. However, his heart remained in Brazil. In 2006, Mark returned to Brazil and was appointed as a chaplain for students at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, a position that perfectly matched his charism of youth ministry.

    During this time, he worked at a drug rehabilitation center. This commitment was entirely consistent with Pope Francis’ subsequent call for the Church to go “to the existential peripheries,” our Constitutions that expressly state that we go “wherever our presence is most needed.”

    Mark became a guide in “Família de Canã,” a drug rehabilitation center, in 2009. He lived with them for more than ten years.

    Mark returned to Belgium early March 2022 and stayed in Zuun due to health problems. He was well aware of his deteriorating health. The verdict, however, came quickly. He had to submit to kidney dialysis and a strict diet. On May 14, 2022, despite excellent care, he died in the Halle Hospital. Mark was a pilgrim missionary in various parts of vast Brazil, a country where he felt at home and among the people he loved. He spoke perfect Portuguese, and many young people are especially grateful to him.  

    Willy Oost