It is with regret that we inform you of the death on the 22nd day of November, 2022 in the Missiehuis Vrijland, Oosterbeek, aged 91, of
Father Hennie Wehkamp
Mill Hill Missionary
May he rest in peace
Hennie was born on the 20th of May, 1931 in the town of Barger-Compascum, Utrecht, in The Netherlands. He received the sacrament of Baptism on the same day as his birth. He was confirmed at the age of 12 in 1943. His father was Jan Willem Wehkamp, a civil servant, and his mother was Maria Wehkamp, nee Hartmann. Hennie was the only boy in the family, he had 9 sisters.
After Primary and Secondary Education in his home place, in 1948 Hennie entered the Eind Examin in Mulo. After graduation there in 1952 he progressed to Kweekschool Teacher Training College in Hilversum. As he qualified as a teacher, Hennie realised that his vocation lay as a priest with the Mill Hill Missionaries. Therefore, after due application, Hennie was admitted to our philosophicum at Roosendaal, in 1954, to begin his studies for priesthood. Having successfully completed his studies in Roosendaal in 1956, he was promoted to study theology and associated subjects at Saint Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London. As his theological studies came to completion Hennie took the Perpetual Oath to God in our Society on the 6th of May, 1959. Just over a year later on the 10th of June, 1960 At the hands of Bishop Anthony Galvin MHM, Hennie was ordained a Mill Hill priest in the College Chapel.
Hennie’s first appointment was to join the staff of our Mill Hill Seminary at Haelen in the Netherlands. While there he continued his personal education as a teacher. In 1962 he successfully passed the head-teacher qualification. Further, in 1964 he achieved further qualifications in English and Teacher Training in Roermond. In those years the education system in the Netherlands was changing rapidly and Hennie was keen to keep pace with such changes. By August, 1968 Hennie’s talents in education were recognised when he was appointed Rector at Haelen. His appointment included encouragement to work closely with our other Colleges in Hoorn and Tilburg, as students were prepared for promotion to study Philosophy at Roosendaal. These were tough days for Hennie and eventually he requested an appointment abroad.
It was to the Diocese of Buea in Cameroon that Hennie was sent in 1970. There, he worked in Kumba Town and Fiango. There he was also involved in nurturing good ecumenical relations particularly with the Presbyterians and Baptists. In 1974 Hennie moved to Mutengene in Tiko Parish, where Bishop Awa was keen to establish a centre to promote the ideas of Vatican II. In 1981 Hennie left Mutengene for Fiango Parish. Shortly after, in 1983, he was elected Society Representative by the Mill Hill community in Cameroon. At that time Fiango had 36 out-stations to be served by three priests. Sadly, while serving in Fiango Hennie’s eyesight began to give him trouble. Hence in 1986 Hennie went home to Holland for treatment. As he received treatment on his eyes Hennie was able to help out in St. Liduina’s Parish in Rotterdam. While there he was appointed to work in the Roosendaal Finance Office in 1988, where he introduced the computerisation of office work. By 1991 Hennie left Roosendaal for a short appointment working in parishes in Vroomshoop and Vriezenveen. After a year Hennie moved to the parish at Neede, where he worked for five years. By 1997 Hennie opted to live in St. Jozefhuis and help with “Supply” work in local parishes from there, especially in Valburg, Herveld, Driel, Indoornik and Heteren.
On the occasion of his 60th jubilee of priesthood, the General Council noted, “Hennie, we join you in thanking the Lord for calling you and enabling you to respond generously to His inbitation to love and serve His people in Cameroon and the Netherlands.” While resident in St. Jozefhuis Hennie was able to pursue his hobbies of Nature Watching, Computer, Photography and “Rommel Markten” (Car-boot sales). In his autobiography Hennie wrote that he was accompanied in life by the consoling words of the Lord, “I will be with you wherever you go.” May Hennie rest in peace and rise in Glory. Hennie will be buried on Saturday 26th November after Requiem Mass at 11.00.am.