Memoriam for Jean-Mathieu Lochten

The United Religions Initiative family mourns the passing of Jean-Mathieu Lochten, founding URI member and strong Cooperation Circle leader in Brussels. Jean-Mathieu was a champion of hospitality for URI's Europe leadership as well as having a several-decades-long history of opening his church doors as sanctuary for people sorely in need.

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Mr. Lochten was a Jesuit priest who managed a home for troubled youth between 1975 and 1990. According to this article about his life (translated from the original French),“The principle was based on a strong commitment not to deport a youth once he or she had been received … When he was the manager, any young person who entered the home could count on him and his team.”

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“Another facet of this unconventional character is that he was the pastor at Beguine since 1995 and had supported three times and for months, undocumented immigrants who had taken over. It is perhaps in this cap that is best known to the general public.”

“In 1994, he created AVICENNE, a place of dialogue interconvictional enabling people to confront the choice of different religions in view of the challenges that life never fails to launch. A man of conviction, he teaches business ethics at IHECS (Institute of Advanced Social Communication Studies). Between 1992 and 1995 he was also director of OCIPE (Catholic Office of Information Problems Europeans).”

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“All members of the Council of the URI-Europe feel [sadness] as a result of the loss of this longtime friend, a sincere friend, on which one could always count on. He was for us a true example of the practice of dialogue … Jean Mathieu was a founding member of the URI (United Religions Initiative) in Europe, and one of the pillars of the interfaith movement, besides almost all meetings of the Council of Europe URI happened at his place, and even since he preferred to resign from the Board, of which he was Vice President, in order to devote himself more fully to his work. Jean Mathieu always received us with great kindness and attention … Jean Mathieu was sort of our ‘Guardian Angel’! ”

-       Elisabeth Lheure, URI At-Large Trustee

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Jean-Mathieu,

In Brussels and far beyond you were well known and recognized. For many you were a pioneer, an authority. We will remember you as deeply concerned about interreligious dialogue. In this world you knew everyone and everyone knew you. In a meeting you said what you thought. A vision, an opinion or a strategy had to be correct, meet criteria and requirements.

You were a man of common sense, modest, cheerful and warm-hearted. Hospitality and generosity were qualities we admired in you. In no time you could win everyone’s sympathy. We have had the honor to experience a beautiful person, well grounded, honest and with great integrity. We will miss your being here, your presence, your big heart and typical smile.

May God bless you richly and welcome you with open arms in His great love. Goodbye, good and faithful friend.

Your friends from United Religions Initiative.

-  Patrick Hanjoul

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