San Pedro bids farewell to Father Raszkowski, S.J.

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 4            January 31, 2002

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Early photo of Father Raszkowski

The San Pedro Roman Catholic Church was filled to capacity last Sunday as hundreds of Catholic faithfuls congregated to bid a final farewell to the late Father Robert P. Raszkowski. Described as a very emotional ceremony, many of those present expressed how thankful they were for having the distinct pleasure of knowing such a great human being.

    The Memorial Mass was officiated by Reverend William Oulvey, S.J. Also in attendance were Father Hoyman, Father Murray and Father Vega of the Catholic Diocese. Mr. Angel Nuñez read the eulogy and the San Pedro High School Choir sang in memory of Father Raszkowski. Present during the ceremony were three nieces of the late Father Raszkowski who took part in the offertory and were able to witness, first hand, the great love the people of San Pedro held for their beloved priest.

    Following the religious ceremony, the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church provided breakfast for the entire congregation at the Lions Den.  

    The San Pedro community enjoyed the presence of Father Raszkowski, a gentle and caring priest, for over four decades. He was born March 4th, 1914 in Berlin, Wisconsin, USA. He entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) on September 1st, 1933 and progressed through the normal course of studies. In 1940, as a young scholastic, Mr. Raszkowski was sent by the Jesuits to British Honduras (Belize) to teach Latin and English at St. John's College. His first trip to Ambergris Caye was made in 1942 when he, along with a number of other Jesuits, spent their holidays here. He was ordained as a priest on June 16th, 1946. After 56 years of service to the People of God in Belize, Father Robert Raszkowski moved to St. Louis, Missouri for health reasons. He passed away on December 19th, 2001.

    Although the people of San Pedro bid a final farewell to their "Beloved Father" last Sunday, he will live in their hearts and in their memories. His natural and sincere smile, his gentle touch and his friendly advice are only a few of the many qualities that Father Robert P. Raszkowski, S.J. will be remembered for.
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