Farewell to Fr Kees Keijsper, OP

Picture: 
Kess Keijsper
Body: 

After 48 years, the brothers of the Vicariate General of Southern Africa bids Fr Kees Keijsper farewell. Fr Kees who has just turned 75 and celebrated his 50th anniversary of priestly ordination is retiring and returning to Holland.

He was born on the 20th of December, 1936 in Holland. He entered the Order and made his first profession on the 18th of September, 1956. At the completion of his basic formation, he was ordained to the priesthood on the 19th of July, 1962. He did further studies at the Aquinas Preaching Institute in St Louis, USA.

Fr Kees is a pioneer of the Order in South Africa. He was a founding member of the local Dominican preaching team. As the one responsible for the studies of the brethren in South Africa he took a lively interest in their studies and raised the money needed especially for their postgraduate studies. He is a member of the Economic Council and worked tirelessly to raise funds for the Vicariate. He also served on the Vicariate Council for several years.

Fr Kees spent most of his priestly ministry in the diocese of Kroonstad. There he worked in many parishes and was involved in the training of deacons and lay ministers. As a born catechist, he spent much energy in introducing Family and Community Catechesis to the country through the SACBC. He encouraged initiative and leadership. He headed the Resource Centre in Welkom and also the Thabiso Skills Training Centre. He was a man full of ideas and was a consultant in the diocese and to several bishops over the years. He also assisted the diocese greatly in fund raising.

After a very fulfilling and committed pastoral life in South Africa, Fr Kees has received and is still receiving good will messages from all especially from the brothers in the Vicariate and the entire diocese of Kroonstad and other dioceses. Fr Gabriel Samba, OP (Socius for Africa) expressed the following in his good will message;

“We thank our Brother Kees for what he has been for us all and for all he has done in the Vicariate General of Southern African as well as for Inter-African collaboration. We wish him all the best and may God continue to bless him abundantly”.

From the curia also, we wish Fr Kees a tranquil rest and good health in his retirement.