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Indonesian Church's financial wizard dies

Belgian priest Father Albert Clemens Schreurs 'astutely' handled business matters for bishops' conference for decades

Indonesian Church's financial wizard dies

Belgian missionary Father Albert Clemens Schreurs is seen here in his office in this file image. (Photo supplied by Father Agus Surianto Himawan)

The Indonesian Church is mourning the death of a Belgian missionary who spent half his life handling church financial matters, especially at the Indonesian Bishops' Conference. 

Father Albert Clemens Schreurs, who belonged to the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM Missionaries) died at the church-run St. Carolus Hospital in Jakarta on Sept. 18 at the age of 88 after a long illness.

Born in Zutendall, Limburg, Belgium in January 1931 he was ordained a priest in 1956. After his ordination, he worked as a missionary in the Philippines before arriving in Indonesia in 1959.

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After serving as treasurer and secretary in Makassar Archdiocese in Sulawesi, he moved to Jakarta in 1968 to work at the bishops' conference.

The priest held a number of important positions, such as head of the finance department for three decades and was a director and commissioner in a number of companies affiliated to the bishops’ conference, including PT Raptim Indonesia, a tour company which offers pilgrimages to the Holy Land.

Father Clemens also established various institutions, such as the Common Fund, which manages the conference's investment funds, 

Father Agustinus Surianto Himawan,  who worked closely with Father Clemens for a long time, said the Belgian priest has left behind many legacies.

"The bishops’ conference office building, as well other buildings under the conference are the fruits of Father Clemens’ work,” he told ucanews.com.

"He pioneered so many things," added the priest, who is now head of Human Resources Development and Public Services at the bishops’ conference.

His other achievements include setting up the bishops’ pension fund, Father Himawan said.

Father Lasbert Livinus Sinaga, parish priest at Christ Salvator Slipi in West Jakarta said Father Clemens was a person who had high regard for his confreres.

“He did not hesitate to help us,” he said, particularly young Indonesian missionaries who were studying.

"All the gifts he got, such as those received on ordination anniversaries, was donated for their education expenses,” he said.

Father Sinaga added the priest also helped many nun congregations who were experiencing financial difficulties, through the network of friends he had in Europe and in America.

"Until his last breath, he continued to encourage us, the CICM missionaries, to continue this spirit of helping others," he said.

Father Clemens' funeral was set to take place in Jakarta on Sept. 21.

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