bisdom Antwerpen

Oldest Belgian man dies

The oldest Belgian man, the priest Jozef Smets, died at the age of 107 last week.  Smets received a papal blessing from the hands of the Bishop of Antwerp only three years ago as he had served as a priest for eighty years.

Jozef Smets was born in 1914 and passed away at a care home, where he had first served as a chaplain and later become a resident. He became Belgium’s oldest man in July after the passing of 109-year-old Sylvain Vallée.

Jozef was a well-known face across the Antwerp Kempen District. He first started as a vicar in a parish in Merksplas in 1938 only to become director of a secondary school in Hoogstraten. He also worked as a vicar in Geel and as a dean.

Smets will be laid to rest in his native in Retie in Antwerp Province next Thursday.

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