Fr Nick walked alongside people


Hamilton priest Fr Nicholas Hoogeveen passed away at the Atawhai Assisi rest home on April 15, 2020. He was 78.

Hamilton Bishop Stephen Lowe, who celebrated a live-streamed requiem Mass for Fr Hoogeveen on April 17, cited the parallels between how Jesus ministered to the two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus and Fr Hoogeveen’s priestly service.

“He (Fr Hoogeveen) had that ability to be able to get beside people, to journey with them just like Jesus did. Jesus, as he was walking [with] the disciples, was one who listened. Fr Nick was a great listener. He enjoyed hearing the stories of his parishioners and his people and getting to know them. And the more he did that, the more he wanted to serve them,” Bishop Lowe said.

Bishop Lowe said it was only after Jesus listened to the disciples that he (Jesus) opened the Scriptures to them.

“Fr Nick was a great teacher. He had a passion for wanting to share the faith. And again, people have talked to me just about the wisdom of his words, the way he was able to open up the Scriptures for people,” Bishop Lowe said.

The bishop remarked that Fr Hoogeveen had sparkling eyes and shared the messages he (Bishop Lowe) received from parishioners about Fr Hoogeveen.

A parishioner told of when he was a little boy, Fr Hoogeveen would bring a can of oil to the family’s farm and would proceed to oil the chains of the boy’s bike. Another recalled how Fr Hoogeveen gifted her husband with a cross made from a fence post.

Bishop Lowe said Fr Hoogeveen had a remarkable ability to journey with people, wherever they were in their lives.

“In all things, he looked to Christ. And in many ways, I think, that’s how Fr Nick endured the suffering that he went through [in] the last few years. His eyes were always fixed on Jesus,” the bishop said.

Bishop Lowe noted that Fr Hoogeveen died in the Octave of Easter, like his (Fr Hoogeveen’s) brother, Fr Theo.

“I think those are beautiful signs about Fr Nick. Beautiful signs of just the way things work out. And we can see the providential hand of God even though these are strange days we are living through. The Lord has everything under control,” he said.

Fr Hoogeveen was laid to rest at a private burial at Ohaupo Catholic Cemetery on April 17.

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