It is with regret that we announce the death on Sunday 17th September 2023, at Zilverheuvel (Vrijland) nursing home in Oosterbeek, The Netherlands, aged 89 of
Brother Hubert (Huub) de Bij
Mill Hill Missionary
May he rest in peace
Huub, as he was affectionately known by his Mill Hill colleagues, was born on the 15th of August, 1934 in The Hague, Holland. He was born into a small family of one brother and one sister, their father being Antonius Johannes de Bij, an office clerk, and their mother being Agnes, nee Scherpenzeel. Huub was baptised the same day he was born in his local parish of Antonius en Lodevicus in The Hague, part of the Diocese of Haarlem.
For his Primary and Secondary education, Huub attended local schools in The Hague and Amsterdam. As he completed his formal education, he felt called to serve the Lord as a Brother with the Mill Hill Missionaries. For his further education and formation, he was sent to various houses in the Netherlands run by our Society. It was in Oosterbeek on 19th March 1953 that Huub took the Temporary Missionary Oath. He continued to work and study in the Netherlands. In 1956, he was asked to help build the new Brother’s House in Courtfield, England. He took the Perpetual Oath on his birthday, 15th August 1958, and became a Brother of the Mill Hill Missionary Society.
In 1963 he was appointed to work in India, most particularly in the Diocese of Nellore. There, he became very much involved on the staff of Saint Anthony’s Industrial Institute, one of the best technical colleges in India. Indeed, Huub helped navigate the college through some difficult times, which was much appreciated. In 1973, after a couple of Home Leave’s, Huub was appointed to work in collaboration with John Wijngaards at St. John’s Regional Seminary, Hyderabad Diocese. It was during this time that Huub, and others, became involved in the world of mass media communications, especially radio, films, Christian literature and latterly television broadcasting. To these, he brought great talent and enthusiasm. Between all these works and places, Huub was three times elected as a Chapter or Assembly Delegate, beginning in 1970, the Renewal Chapter. Around the time of his return to India, after the 1976 Society Assembly, his mass media work was based in Amruthavani, Secunderabad. This was a full-functioning communications centre, which attributed its foundation to John Wijngaards.
In September 1987, facing a few health issues, Huub was withdrawn from India and appointed to work in the British Region, where he served in the Society’s MILCOM office in Mill Hill. Continuing his association with Fr. Wijngaards, Huub became involved in Housetop Communications. Here again, he brought great experience and enthusiasm to this scripture-based, catechetical, audio-visual apostolate based in the heart of London. The visual “Parables” created by Housetop entailed much travelling abroad for Huub to such countries as Indonesia, India, Kenya and Columbia. The “Courses” created by Huub and his colleagues at Housetop continued to inspire many around the world. In November 2000 Huub was appointed to his home region in the Netherlands, where he put his media communication skills to good use. He was a member of the editing team for Kontactblad, under the leadership of Fons Eppink. He also helped in promoting the Lenten and October Mission Campaigns in the Missiehuis, Vrijland. His presence at our retirement house was very positive, as he brought lightness and joy to the lives of the other residents, particularly the most feeble and depressed. He was very articulate, good humoured and easy to get on with. As regards Huub’s health, he battled with cancer and had to undergo several surgical procedures. He finally succumbed to it and returned to the Lord on 17th September 2023 at 2.22 a.m. at the age of 89 years. May he rest in peace and now enjoy the company of the angels and saints in heaven.
A Thanksgiving Mass will be offered on Thursday, 21st September at 11 a.m in St. Jozefhuis, Oosterbeek followed by the burial of his remains at our own cemetery there. The services will be livestreamed: https://vimeo.com/event/2882273