Fr Albert Brys called to the Lord
Fr Albert Brys, CICM, of the Scheut Missionaries, passed away on 17 September 2017 in Torhout, Belgium. He passed peacefully on Sunday morning, after a last visit by his relatives and surrounded by his confreres, two weeks short of his 92nd birthday.
Fr Albert Brys was born in Ostend, Belgium on 5 October 1925. He joined CICM in 1946 and was ordained a priest in 1951. After further studies, he left for the then-Belgian Congo in 1954 and exercised his missionary ministry mainly as a teacher and educator. In 1977, he was recalled to Belgium for service at the CICM Motherhouse in Scheut, Brussels.
He then volunteered for a new mission assignment and was sent to Singapore in 1982 – where he found a new culture, new languages, and a new missionary start at age 57. Fr Brys ministered for another 29 years as an assistant priest in three parishes: first for a short time at the Church of St Vincent de Paul, subsequently for 14 years at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS) until 1997, and finally for 12 more years at the Church of St Francis of Assisi (SFA).
Throughout his ministry in Singapore, Father Brys was a great force behind the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), from when it was first introduced at OLPS until his years at SFA. He was also an appreciated presenter at Marriage Encounter and Engaged Encounter. His talks and homilies were always well-prepared, based on hours of study and research; improvisation was out of the question. He was a man of principle, of firm self-discipline, and of enthusiastic commitment.
In 2008, Fr Brys retired at St Joseph’s Home in Jurong, where he conducted weekly bible classes until 2011 when his medical condition was such that a return to Belgium was indicated. There, he enjoyed another six years in a CICM retirement home, in the company of former mission companions in Congo and in contact with his younger brothers and sisters. When conversation had become difficult, Fr Brys kept repeating to his visitors, in deep gratitude, “I have had a beautiful life.”
People invariably loved Fr Brys for his great sense of pastoral service, his kind and humble ways, and also for his legendary incidents as “distracted professor”. He will be remembered as a kind, gentle, learned and disciplined man.
Extracted from Catholic News Oct 01, 2017