It is with regret that we announce the death in the evening of January 30th, 2022, in Missiehuis Vrijland, Oosterbeek, The Netherlands, aged 83 of
Father Albert Abbenhuijs
Mill Hill Missionary
May he rest in peace
Albert Abbenhuijs was born on the 24th of May, 1938 in Arnhem, the Netherlands and was baptised as Albertus Christianus Maria. His father was Albertus Abbenhuijs, an office clerk, and his mother was Maria Klynhout. He had one brother and one sister.
About his primary schooling, Albert wrote: “Due to the 2nd World War, I missed Form 1 Primary. We had to leave Arnhem. The first part of evacuation was at Eerbeek. Only school for Protestant! I was a catholic! The second part of the evacuation was in Bornerbroek (Twente). I was only permitted to sit in class if other children were sick. Back in Arnhem, I immediately went to Form II. All children were in the same situation. Missing Primary I has always been a handicap.” The war and evacuation experience seemed to haunt Albert throughout his life.
In 1950 he entered the minor seminary of Mill Hill in Tilburg which he completed in 1958, after a year in Haelen (1957). He was promoted to study Philosophy and related subjects at the missionary college in Roosendaal (1958-1960). He then proceeded to St. Joseph’s College in Mill Hill where he completed his missionary training in 1964. He took the Perpetual Oath on 2nd May 1963. Over a year later, he was ordained a missionary priest on 12th July 1964 in the Chapel at St. Joseph’s College by Archbishop John Carmel Heenan.
Following his ordination, Albert received his missionary appointment to Uganda where he spent 35 years of building up the Kingdom of God mostly in Busoga area. In December 1964, he arrived in Wesunire where he served as an assistant pastor to Fr. Staller and later Fr. Giesen. In February 1967, he had short stint at Buswale Parish. In May 1967, he served in Kiyunga Parish until he went for a home leave in December 1969. In July 1970, he was in Nawanyago for 6 months and later in Kiyunga parish from January 1971 to June 1974. He followed a one year Lumen Vitae course in Brussels and finished with a Diploma in Catechetics. He wrote a dissertation: Forming Christian communities in Busoga. After the course, he went back to Kiyunga Parish where he served for a number of years with Fr. Piet Kok. Due to failing health (mostly psychosomatic), he was withdrawn from Uganda in July 1987 to do pastoral work in the Netherlands. He found himself serving at St. Joseph’s Parish in Arnhem. In July 1989, he went back to Uganda for a short visit and on his return to the Netherlands, he requested the General Council to re-appoint him to Jinja Diocese. His wish was granted on 29th May 1990. He took up this appointment on 4th January 1991 and served a good number of years in parishes like Nawanyago and Namwendwa, until his health forced him to be withdrawn from Uganda and appointed back to the Netehrlands on 22nd February 1999. He took up a chaplaincy ministry in 2001 in a care home in Olst (St Willibrord) and later in Kaatsheuvel (De Vossenberg). In October 2008, he participated the 65+ Seminar in Rome. In February 2015, he moved to Missiehuis Vrijland to retire.
Albert returned to the Lord on 30th January 2022 at 22:20 in Missiehuis, Vrijland, aged 83. The Requiem Mass will be held on Friday, 4th February 2022 at 11 a.m. and it will be limited to a close circle of people due to the Covid-19 measures. He will be laid to rest in our own cemetery in Oosterbeek.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.