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Festa de Despedida – Fr Jac Hetsen MHM Bids Farewell to Lusophone Parish in Amsterdam

It was my farewell party from the Portuguese speaking Fatima parish. I was privileged to work there for sixteen years and to allow myslef to be touched by their faith and their lives as migrants in this Dutch society. Some were “legal” and others were undocumented. We didn’t care, because they wanted to survive.

The farewell started with a Eucharistic celebration in Portuguese. Fr Ben den Boer MHM asked me to be the main celebrant and the pastoral worker and our representative of the Portuguese-speaking pastoral care in the Netherlands, Jan Eijke, also participated. With about 175 people, the party started with speeches and presents. Several pastoral groups presented themselves, such as the Charismatic Prayer Group, but also the Rosary Group of the men and the Legion of Mary Group. There was plenty of food, enough for everyone.

My siblings were very surprised by this big farewell party. It was also a big surprise for me and it touched deep emotions in me. Because it was a privilege to experience the faith of these migrants, mainly from Portugal and Brazil. We have just moved to the Boomkerk, to a real church (building) with the result that more people come to church because it is a real church (?) With the Dutch churches that are being closed, it often means that many no longer come to church.

It proved an unforgettable day for me to experience so much gratitude.

Jac Hetsen MHM

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