Pastor in Zimbabwe: 1968-1977.
Serima, Mashaba, St. Anthony: (1971-77).
Administration and pastoral work in Zambia: 1978-1995.
Pastoral work in Zimbabwe: 1996-2008.
Mission House Bethlehem, Immensee: 2008-2015.
“You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Lk 12, 40)
This text strikes us very much at the death of Franz-Sepp, because although he suffered from heart problems, his sudden death at the beginning of his 77th year has surprised us all.
Like other missionaries bound for Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia), Franz-Josef first learnt English in England.
Then in Driefontein he learnt the local Shona language for his missionary work. He experienced the difficult and dangerous time of the liberation from 1975 onwards in St. Anthony’s. The violent deaths of Martin Holenstein, Gieri Jörger and Kilian Hissers (two years younger than himself), were for the confreres in Zimbabwe, as well as for us at home, a very troubled time.
After a sabbatical at home, coupled with an intense accountants’ course in England, he made himself available for a new missionary assignment in neighbouring Zambia. As procurator of Mpima Seminary, his mission work consisted of many services, particularly practical ones. His more practical and organizational predisposition came in very handy and his talents were fully used during the 13 years of reconstruction of Kaparu mission together with Josef Christen.
In 1996 Franz-Sepp started another eleven year-long assignment in Zimbabwe, in the diocese of Gweru and the new neighbouring diocese Mashvingo. During the last few years in Zimbabwe Franz-Sepp also served as a procurator of the SMB Region Zimbabwe.”
After returning to Switzerland in 2008, he again provided many missionaries with small services from person to person, particularly by accompanying older confreres – solving computer problems or repairing radios. He also composed an original brochure combining the dates of the deceased confreres with passages from the Holy Scripture.
Dear Francis, full of gratitude we say to you A-Dieu!