After thirty years of pastoral work, of which twelve years as pastor-dean, EH Hans Vandenholen (58) leaves his hometown. On Sunday 9 October Zottegem will say goodbye to him. This takes place with a solemn celebration of thanksgiving at 3 p.m. in the church of Bevegem. He then moves to Aalst, where he will be appointed as the new pastor-dean of the Ajuinstad on Sunday 23 October.
EH Hans Vandenholen (born September 23, 1964) grew up in Sint-Maria-Oudenhove, in Pijperzele. It hardly needs to be said that the church community then and today are completely different. The sociological Catholic Church community of that time, to which almost everyone belonged by tradition and custom, evolved into a missionary Church in which the personal choice of faith plays an important role. EH Hans Vandenholen was allowed to supervise this process in his own region and city. First, immediately after his ordination to the priesthood on June 28, 1992, he did so for 18 years as a cooperating priest during the weekends (popularly: Sunday curate). In this capacity he also moved, in June 2002, from Ghent to the rectory in Erwetegem.
On 27 June 2010, EH Hans Vandenholen was appointed by the then Ghent bishop Luc Van Looy as pastor of Zottegem-centrum, Erwetegem and Godverdegem and, following EH Karel Cottenie, as dean of the former ‘small’ deanery Zottegem, which then only existed from the twelve parishes within the city of Zottegem. After the reform that was implemented in the diocese in 2016 – the former 34 deaneries were reduced to 10 deans and the former 400 parishes to 43 larger parishes – he became dean of the ‘new’ deanery of Zottegem, which has since also included Herzele – Sint- Lievens-Houtem, Brakel – Lierde and Geraardsbergen.
In the meantime, EH Hans Vandenholen was also appointed parish administrator (read; pastor) of Bevegem, Grotenberge and Strijpen in February 2015. In 2018, the parishes Elene, Leeuwergem and Velzeke were first added (after the honorable retirement of EH Frans Hendrickx) and later also Oombergen, Sint-Goriks-Oudenhove and Sint-Maria-Oudenhove (after the appointment of EH Paul De Neve rector of the sanctuary Our Lady of Lourdes in Oostakker). In this way, EH Hans Vandenholen took care of all twelve Zottegem parishes at the end of 2018. Unlike in his youth, when there was almost a pastor and assistant pastor for each parish, two priests are now at the service of the entire Catholic community in Groot-Zottegem.
WEEKEND MASSES CANCELLED BY FAREWELL CELEBRATION
The farewell of pastor-dean Hans Vandenholen on Sunday 9 October will be accompanied by a solemn Eucharistic celebration at 3 pm in the H. Hartkerk of Bevegem. The St. Gregorius men’s choir that is associated with the deanal church, the Bevegem Children’s and Youth Choir and members of other parochial church choirs will provide the musical luster. After this church service, a reception is offered to those present and there is an opportunity to meet face-to-face in the building and garden of the adjacent primary school Sint-Barbara College. Because of this farewell celebration, five of the seven regular weekend masses are cancelled. Only the weekly evening mass at 6:30 pm in the church of Velzeke will take place on Saturday October 8, as well as the early mass at 8:30 am on Sunday October 9 in the dekenal center church. The thanksgiving and farewell celebration in the H. Hartkerk Bevegem can be viewed online (also in the days and weeks afterwards) via https://www.facebook.com/dekenaat.zottegem in NUUS Zottegem.