Rein van Leeuwen 1929 – 2018

Fr. Rein van Leeuwen, who in retirement joined the Canadian Region in 2002, died at Carrefour Providence in Montréal on July 25. In his retirement he helped to set up the community of Indonesian Catholics who met regularly at our community house in Montreal. Rein was a steadfast member of the community until  his medical condition made it impossible to stay in the community house. At that point, he transferred to the Carrefour Providence. We remembered Rein to the Lord and his promise of the resurrection at a funeral mass at Antoine Marie Claret on August 3. He was buried at our cemetery in Grenville sur la Rouge on the same day.

During the funeral Eucharist, Fr. Claude Bédard, who welcomed him to the Montréal community in 2002, preached the homily. To honour Rein we present here the content of the homily.

Homélie pour les funérailles du Père Reinier van Leeuwen SCJ

ReinAujourd’hui, nous venons célébrer ensemble la vie. C’est la vie d’un homme d’origine modeste qui a répondu OUI à la vie, à son baptême et à sa vocation. Avec son coeur ouvert sur le monde, notre frère Rein a transplanté ses racines des Pays-Bas à l’Indonésie avant de les fixer définitivement parmi nous, au Canada.

Les lectures que nous avons choisies pour ce dernier hommage à sa vie nous rappellent le cheminement extraordinaire de sa vocation religieuse et missionnaire. Le père Rein, à l’aube de sa vie, a entendu l’appel du Seigneur et il y a répondu.

Pour nous, qui avons partagé une partie de sa vie, sa réponse prend une dimension qu’il est difficile d’imaginer tant elle est riche et variée.

If we look back into his life, we will acknowledge that the gifts he has received from the Spirit have been at work in so many different ways that it seems impossible to picture the performance.

Romo Rein’s life, as any other life, is a mix of successes and of defeats, of joys and of disappointment, of detachment and of acquisition. Yet, he stood steadfast, confident in the grace of God.
Oui, nous avons toutes les raisons de célébrer sa vie qui s’illustre spécialement sur la constance de sa réponse à sa vocation baptismale, sacerdotale et missionnaire. Comme les Apôtres sur la montagne, il a eu ses doutes mais la certitude qu’il avait développée de la constance de la grâce du Christ a toujours prévalu.

Disons surtout qu’il a été choyé par les grâces attachées à sa mission dont nous venons d’entendre la lecture dans l’épître de S. Paul aux Corinthiens. Je pense au don des langues, à l’esprit de discernement, à la sagesse ave laquelle il s’exprimait si généreusement. Ces dons de l’Esprit, il se les a appropriés: ils faisaient Un avec lui, avec sa vie. C’est maintenant que nous pouvons réaliser combien vérifiable est la parole de Jésus: “À vous qui avez tout quitté pour me suivre, vous recevrez au centuple!” C’est aussi cet aboutissement des sa vie que nous venons célébrer.

Being sent as a missionary in Indonesia, Romo Rein was affected to many different tasks, some very humble, some others very influential. During his 45 years in Indonesia, he was appointed as prefect of discipline in the Minor Seminary, then was moved to a Parish and he ended up as the Secretary for the Asian Bishops’ Conference. Quite a range of responsibilities!
This is then that we got to know him. As an expert in Social Communications, he attended an international conference in Montreal. This was in 1998. Romo Rein asked us if he could not stay in our Montreal Community for the duration of the Conference. The second or third day of the Conference, he felt sick and had to undergo surgery. We took so much care of him that he asked us if it would be possible to come back with us when he retires. He would say openly to whomever wanted to hear it : “I found in Montreal a real Dehonian community!”

In 2002, Romo Rein moved here. After a few weeks, he linked with the Dutch community and, later with the Indonesian community.

Here, I wish to pay a special tribute to the members of the Indonesian Catholic Community, KKI, who have been so kind and respectful to Romo Rein. As a matter of fact, KKI gave him a new breath and contributed so much in keeping alive his missionary life.

Notre confrère le Père Rein s’est vraiment épanoui dans sa vocation parce qu’il a pu continuer à répondre à sa mission d’enseigner toutes les nations.

Le message qu’il nous laisse dans le silence de sa mort prend toutes sortes de formes: forme de joie, d’action de grâce, d’intériorité et surtout d’ouverture aux autres.

Que son souvenir nous soutienne dans nos épreuves et nos déchirements comme dans nos joies et nos projets. Que le Sacré-Coeur de Jésus l’accueille dans son paradis et que la Vierge Marie qu’il priait tant le précède dans la béatitude éternelle.

Amen.
Montréal, ce 31 juillet 2018
JCBscj

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