Fr. Leo J. Zonneveld dies

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Missionhurst Father Leo J. Zonneveld, who retired from active service in the Arlington Diocese in 2012 after serving as pastor of Precious Blood Church in Culpeper for more than 32 years, died Sept. 19 at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington. He was 81.

A viewing will be held at Precious Blood Church, 114 E. Edmonson St., Culpeper, Sept. 24, from 2 to 9 p.m., and Sept. 25, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. A funeral Mass will be offered by Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde Sept. 25 at 11 a.m. at Precious Blood, followed by interment at Fairfax Memorial Park, 9900 Braddock Rd., Fairfax.

Missionhurst Father Charles Phukuta Khonde, provincial superior, remembered Father Zonneveld as "a man of deep faith, a great and affectionate leader in the U.S. Province. He also used his aptitudes in finances for the good of the U.S. Province and our entire religious missionary congregation. He was a very good mentor to me since the time I became U.S. Provincial Superior. I know that he will be sorely missed because, even in retirement, he always made himself available to our provincial administration."

Father Zonneveld was born in Holland Sept. 8, 1934, to Johannes and Querina Zonneveld, one of seven children.

He entered the Missionhurst Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1952, pronouncing his first vows a year later on Sept. 8, 1953. He was ordained July 25, 1958, in Nijmegen, Holland.

Father Zonneveld's mission assignment in the United States began in 1959. He studied at Catholic University in Washington while doing parish work at St. John the Beloved Church in McLean. He taught at Msgr. Bonner High School in Drexel Hill, Pa., 1961-64, and was parochial vicar of Holy Spirit Church in Annandale, 1965-67.

From 1967 to 1969, Father Zonneveld was assistant director of novices at Missionhurst in Arlington. During those years he earned a master's and a doctorate in philosophy from Catholic U., where he lectured until 1969. That year, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Also in that year, Father Zonneveld was appointed provincial superior of Missionhurst's U.S. province, a position he held until 1979.

For the Arlington Diocese, he served as dean of Deanery IV, a diocesan consultor, a member of the diocesan finance committee and a judge on the Tribunal.

Father Zonneveld served as pastor of Precious Blood Church in Culpeper from 1979 until his retirement in 2012, at which time he took up residence at Missionhurst in Arlington.

Missionhurst Father Joseph Giordano, provincial treasurer and rector, said of Father Zonneveld, "He was caring, understanding and faithful. His leadership during my formation years (was) inspiring for me to continue with my vocation. He was a trusted guide, a force of friendship with a balanced mind that fostered the work of the U.S. Province."

Donations in memory of Father Zonneveld can be mailed to Missionhurst-CICM, 4651 N. 25th St., Arlington, VA 22207.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015