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    Our dear departed

    Paul Delaere

    Paul Delaere

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    Frederic Vital Mees smallPaul Delaere (1918-2022)

    Born in Kuurne (Belgium) on July 25, 1918
    First vows on September 8, 1938
    Ordained a priest on August 1, 1943
    Missionary in the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Belgium.
    Died in Torhout (Belgium) on September 13, 2022,

    at the age of 104.


    Paul joined CICM after graduating from Sint-Amands High School in Kortrijk. In Jambes and Scheut, he studied philosophy, and in Leuven, he studied theology. He spent four years at Heverlee’s social school before leaving for the mission.

    He left for the United States of America in April 1947. He worked in a parish in Texas, and he was a teacher at the minor seminary in Maryhill, Louisiana, from 1949 to 1956. When he returned to Belgium on his first leave, he served for two years as Treasurer and English Teacher in our Novitiate in Zuun. He served as Novice Master in Arlington for eight years after returning to the United States in 1958.

    He was assigned to the Dominican Republic in 1964, where he served as a Parish Priest in several parishes for 28 years. From then on, Paul was referred to as Pablo. He remained a man of hard-working farmers, including female farmers. Pablo realized that the parish community functions because of strong women. As a result, he believed that women could play a more critical role in the villages, the parish, and the Universal Church.

    Pablo had taught people to fight for their rights. He tried to work with them in cooperatives and teach them to save money. This was a novelty for most of his parishioners.

    Pablo also realized that something was lacking in the traditional parish work. As a result, he began to sympathize with the Haitians exploited on the sugar plantations. He looked after these migrants who were fleeing their country at the risk of their lives. Why are these young people fleeing their families and friends? He pondered this. He was convinced that it was not for their own amusement but rather for a more dignified life. What is missing in society that causes so many people to be unhappy? What can we do to keep people from seeking refuge in their faith while they wait for heaven? These were Pablo’s concerns. He attempted to make a significant change.

    In 1992, at the age of 74, he began a well-deserved rest in his former parish of Neiba, Dominican Republic. Even before books were written about “small happiness,” Pablo lived it simply and gratefully. And he had allowed God’s love to speak through thousands of things.

    Pablo returned permanently to Belgium in 2000 and continued to rest in our house in Kortrijk. He had become physically limited. But mentally and spiritually, he remained alert: he solved sudokus and crossword puzzles, read magazines and books on all sorts of things and played cards with passion every afternoon.

    Pablo arrived in Torhout in 2015. At that time, he was almost 97 years old. He never missed a confreres meeting: whether it was to play cards, have a drink, watch soccer, races, tennis, or to pray together.

    “I’ll make it to 104,” Pablo said when he turned 100. His wish was granted not only through his own effort but also through the excellent care provided by people in our community. And he began to give up everything shortly after his 104th birthday, and he died peacefully after a brief stay in the hospital. 

    Arnold Quartier