Father Piet Verhagen MHM Has Died. R.I.P.

It is with regret that we inform you of the death on the 13th day of February, 2023 in the Prinsenbosch nursing home, Wageningen, The Netherlands aged 81 of

Father Piet Verhagen

Mill Hill Missionary

May he rest in peace

“Whoever believes in me will live, even if he dies” (John 11:25)

Piet was born on the 1st of November, 1941, during the Second World War, in Schijndel in the Netherlands. He was baptised the day after his birth in the parish of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in the Diocese of  ‘s Hertogenbosch and given the names Petrus Gerardus Maria. Piet also received the sacrament of Confirmation in the same parish in 1950.

Piet’s father was Nico J.J. Verhagen, and his mother was Herriete Verhagen, nee Swinkels. He had two bothers and five sisters in his family.

After studying in his local primary school, Piet felt the stirrings of a Missionary vocation. In response, Piet studied in Rooie Pannen in Tilburg from 1955 to 1963. He then studied Philosophy and associated subjects in Roosendaal from 1963 to 1965. From there, he went on to study Theology and associated subjects at Saint Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London from 1965 to 1969. As he completed his formal studies for priesthood, on the 1st of May, 1968 Piet took the Perpetual Oath to God in the Society in the Chapel of St. Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London. Just over a year later, on the 28th of June, 1969 in his local parish in Schijndel, Piet was ordained a Mill Hill Missionary priest at the hands of Bishop Gerardo Kramer OFM.

After ordination, Piet was appointed to Haelen, where Mill Hill had a College. A year later, he was appointed to work in Kenya. For the next decade Piet worked in the parishes of Mumias, Nangina and Busia/Mundika. In 1981 he had the opportunity to follow a Biblical Renewal Course at Saint George’s College in Israel, before returning to Kenya. In 1987 Piet received a “Home” appointment. For three years he worked with the Promotion Team, based in Roosendaal, in Holland. In 1989 Piet participated in the St. Bueno’s retreat/renewal course, after which he returned to his beloved Kenya to do youth work in the newly created Diocese of Bungoma.

Of particular note is that in 1997, together with Anne and Frank Boomers, Piet had a short spell in the Diocese of Yambio in Sudan. Later in the same year he returned to Kenya to serve in the parish of Luanda in the Diocese of Kakamega. Towards the end of 1999 Piet left Kenya. Initially, he followed a retreat at Loyola Hall in Liverpool, England. He then took up an appointment to serve the Apostleship of the Sea ministry in Amsterdam, Holland. Early in January, 2003 he was installed as Parish Priest in Sittard, Diocese of Roermond in the Netherlands. In early September, 2020 Piet was withdrawn from his work with seafarers in Roermond and appointed to retirement in Vrijland, Oosterbeek. In July 2022 Piet was moved to a Care Home in Wageningen where he received specialist care. It was from here that he was hospitalised and died.

On the occasion of Piet’s celebrating 25 years of priesthood, the Superior General wrote, “The initiatives you have taken in the pastoral fields (of Kenya); with the building up of Christian Communities in Busia District, and the youth programmes you have begun throughout Bungoma Diocese are more than praiseworthy.”  

Piet will be laid to rest in the Mill Hill Cemetery after a Requiem Mass at Sint Jozefhuis, Johannahoeve 4, on Friday the 17th of February, 2023 beginning at 11.00.am. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

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