Thursday, 13 October 2011
Fr Albert Van Der Most Retires from Littlehampton
There was much sadness in St Catherine's Church, Littlehampton, when the parishioners said farewell to Fr Albert, their parish priest for 23 years.
Fr Albert Van der Most arrived at St Catherine's in September 1988 from Horsham where he had been for only a year. He found the Church and Presbystry in a sorry state. The buildings were so decrepit and the cost of renovations so staggerlingly high, that it was at first thought the beautiful old church might have to be pulled down. However Fr Albert rallied the parishioners and with his vision, determination and boundless enrgy he launched an extraordinary programme of fund raising in which he himself was fully involved. As a result of much hard work and some generous donations the church was restored, renovated and improved, and the Parish Centre was reburbished so that it could be let out for functions, thus generating further income for the parish.
Until recently he tended the lawns and gardens of the church himself, often weeding the flower beds in the early hours of the morning. All this was done in addition to administering a large and busy parish along ministering to St Catherines's Primary School and Ford Open Prison.
Fr Albert's love of sport, particularly football was well known. Being a Dutchman his great love was for his national team and whenever they were playing England he would emerge after Mass with a orange Holland shirt on, a gift from the local school children.
He has also been a 'star' of television. In recent years he appeared briefly in the acclaimed series 'The Convent' filmed at the nearby Poor Clares Convent at Crossbush where he regularly said Mas for the Community.
He also has a great love of the poor and disadvantaged, and he was well known for his many acts of kindness and generosity, espeically for poor communities overseas. He recently received a letter from CAFOD, the Catholic Overseas Aid Charity congratulating him and St Catherine's parish for their generosity and continued support for them.
Fr Albert's ebullient and extrovert personality made him a well known figure in Littlehampton and begyond, but he will also be remembered for his deep faith and spirituality.
Wenda concludes "Fr Albert, we all wish you a long and happy retirement with many blessings."
Fr Dominic O'Hara is now the new parish priest of Littlehampton and Rustington. We wish him well in this new post. He is definitely not a Holland supporter!