Events on the departure of Bro. Wladimir Henk van Heck

Compiled by Bro. Martinus Dariyo.

1. Friday 11 March 2016.

When I was teaching novices of Brothers FIC, Sisters of Our Lady and Sisters of Providence, at 09.00 I got phone call from Bro. Henry Anthony Ibrahim, telling to come to Maryview immediately. Thirty minutes later I arrived at Maryview and saw ambulance in front of the house, then I knew what it was all about. People greeted me, I entered the room and some sisters were there to take care of the remain of Bro. Wladimir. He died in his room. I went out and managed to call members of General Council. At 10.30 members of Board of Governor of Catholic University, lead by Bishop of Karonga Diocese, Mgr. Rev. Martin Mtumbuka. He was in full official habit as Bishop. We brought the remain to the office room, and Bishop Mtumbuka together with 4 priests, led the prayer. He looked very enthusiastic, took the reading on Eph. And give beautiful speech. Before elected as Bishop, Fr. Martin Mtumbuka was second in command of CUNIMA after the Vice Chancellor. He stayed in Maryview compound for 10 years. He knew Bro. Wladimir van Heck very well.
He choose the verse of 2 Tim 4: 7: “ I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”,. He said he was a missionary up to the end and it was simply a good example, keep the faith, to fight until the end. He also said, this example is very good especially for the young generation FIC. He said that we had to celebrate for his achievement.
After the prayer we brought the remains to mortuary at College of medicine in Blantyre. Friday afternoon, we made a program for the funeral and burial: e.g. Sunday afternoon brought the remains to Maryview, vigil Mass for the people around Maryview. Monday official Mass at Maryview and after the Mass we brought the remains to FIC cemetery in Mzedi.

2. Saturday 12 March 2016.

Preparation for the funeral. Many things to be done fastly and properly i.e. buying coffin, hiring hearse, formal information to the chief of Masikini and chief of Mzedi, information to Bishop and Priests in the Archdiocese, information through Radio Maria, arrangement of tents, people in charge of Masses, including choirs, night vigil: preparing snacks and drink for the whole night, graveyard digging, food’s preparation for Monday event, arrangement of protocol for the events, Construction of tents… printing memorial cards, booklet for Mass, etc………

3. Sunday 13 March 2016.

At 15.00 we were already a College of Medicine. The hearse came on time. A lot of cars, parked in front of College of Medicine. Many people came. We did short prayer before leaving mortuary. We left mortuary at 15.30. Just on time as planned. At 16.30 we arrived in Maryview. So many people waiting our arrival, and there was a touching moment when so many people especially women mourning, weeping, crying, or just burst in tears. We felt that we brothers and people are one, united in sorrow. We still have one hour before Vigil Mass. People were given chance to view the remains in the casket.
Meanwhile the choirs from Maryview village and Choir of Catholic University students sang hymn in turn. They performed very well. It was a long line, moved slowly, quietly, to see and pay the last respect on the last moment.

Vigil Mass at 17.30

In fact this vigil Mass was for the people around Maryview especially the villagers. However it was attended by so many people from all over, including from Lilongwe, Machinga, Mulanje, Thyolo etc.
The mass was presided by Fr. George Buleya, the Vice Chancellor of Catholic University of Malawi (CUNIMA), and Fr. Mkumba, the chaplain of the Sisters SBVM, together with other 12 priests. It was a big event in Maryview. Choirs: Montfort Maryview choir and CUNIMA choir. Alater boys/girls: students of CUNIMA.
It was very good sermon by the chaplain of Sisters SBVM. Gospel reading taken from Matt 25: 31-46. He started the preaching by singing words" Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me. ... and the congregations continued spontaneously: When I was hungry you give me to eat, when I was thirsty you give me to drink, Now enter into the home of my Father(Celebration Hymnal no. 352). (Notes: People know this simple song by heart).

Many sentences said, got a murmur approval from people. Once he said; "The death of Bro. Wladimir is the death of many…murmur: yeyeyeye….When he explained that on final judgment the Lord will divide them into two groups just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, then he asked people: “Ask yourself who you are. Everybody knows, you are goat, don't' you????”The people laughing….. yeyeye……“but… Bro. Wladimir is a sheep”. murmur.. yeyeye…………
After mass each group was given specific time to keep night vigil by singing and praying the whole night until Monday morning at 11.00, the time when we will have official funeral Mass. It was a busy night at Maryview. We erected small tent in front of meeting room where the casket was. We prepared some drink such as tea and snack.

4. Monday 14 March 2016.

As it would be long ceremony, people should eat. Forpriests and religious, they eat at Brothers’ House while people eat outside the house. Anyone priest/religious came, (including Bishops) went straight to the dining room, eat fast and go to the tent.

Funeral Mass at 11.00.
Presided by Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa assisted by Bishop Musikwa of Diocese of Chikwawa, accompanied by 33 priests. Main choir: from Nguludi Parish, another choir from Montfort Choir of Maryview out-station.
Master of Ceremony Rev. Fr. Enock Kanjira DP.
Reading short biography of Bro. Wladimir Henk van Heck by Bro. Andrew Makocho. (see appendix 1) Sermon by Right Rev. Mgr. Thomas Luke Msusa (see appendix 2).
After communion: Reading Poem by the daughter of former Deaf pupil of Maryview Juliana Mwase, in Chichewa.
Translation by Bro. Andrew Makocho: It was years ago….. There we sat in class with eye opened……….wondering at the world around us…..And got confused what to do………
We had assembled… With no means to communicate… Who would the situation provoke….That we begin to find meaning for this assembly….
We were without language….. My father came smiling…… He taught us to smile……. He taught us to communicate…….
We will never stop mourning…. His smile alone gave us hope……… We knew we would accomplish… We began to understand……….
We never stop speaking……. We enjoyed speaking….. And the man who made this is no more…….. We mourn at his passing………

Fr. Kanjira said: “Very touching poem”.

After reading the Poem it was a short words by Mrs. Sacranie, former Consul of the Netherlands. She represents the Dutch Community. The last speaker was Bro. Thomas Chikoti. He spoke o n behalf of Brothers FIC, expressed gratitude and thanks to all. “Five months ago when we celebrated 175 years FIC, you came and we celebrated together. Today you come and together we pray and say good-bye l to our fellow Brother Wladimir. We are together in joy and sorrow…. etc”.

Burial at Mzedi FIC cemetery.

Bro. Wladimir wished to be laid next to the tomb of Bro. Matthew Thijs Holla, under the three. We fulfilled his wish. There is a big three and one big branch covered the area above empty space next to the tomb. It was enough vehicles including lorry to go together to Mzedi, including two Bishops and some priests. We travelled through Robert Mugabe highway (Midima road), Limbe, Kachere and Mzedi, covering a distance of 25 km. When we arrived in Mzedi we were welcomed by people of Mzedi parish, including students of St. Patrick. The burial ceremony was led by Fr. Sulani, parish priest of Mzedi.
The whole ceremony ended at 15.30.

5. Saturday 26 March 2016: In Memory of Brother Wladimir Henk van Heck.

In Indonesia there is a tradition to pray for the soul of the dead person on day third, day seventh, day 100th, day 365th, and day 1000th. As such it is a proper to pray together as family at Maryview. We invited some people around Maryview Community. The Mass took place at the CUNIMA chapel, presided by Father Mkumba, chaplain of SBVM Sisters and Fathers George Buleya and Mbeta of CUNIMA. After Mass it was time to eat and drink as families.