The Franciscan Brothers are filled with sadness to announce the death of Tom Burke, Pine Grove, Mountbellew, Co. Galway. Tom passed peacefully in the wonderful care of the staff in the Galway Hospice, surrounded by his loving family. Predeceased by his loving parents Marie and Patrick Burke. Mourned and sadly missed by his loving wife Dorothy and stepchildren Deirdre, Michael, Éilis, Derry, Siobhán and Patrick, sons in law Gerard and Brian, daughters in law Linda and Sarah, his adored grandchildren Leah, Mollie, Anna, Mya, Derry, Ella, Samuel, Lana and Stephen, his beloved sister Majella (Pat) and brothers Paddy (Dolores), Seamus (Patsy), Michael (Susan), Noel (Bridie) and Cyril (Ann), nieces and nephews along with relatives, neighbours and many many friends.
May his kind gentle soul rest in peace
A tribute from Brother Charles Lagu, Minister General on Tom Burke’s passing: Last July during our bicentennial celebration and in a light, humorous way, Tom whispered to me that he was not certain if I would find him breathing when I visit Mountbellew next June/July. In response I told him “Tom you have been a hero to us as OSF Brothers. You made footmarks in Ireland and in Baraka-Kenya. The story of any of those institutions cannot be spoken or written without you being named. He looked in my eyes and said, “Br. Charles I am happy, and you have my blessings. Be strong in the new role you have been entrusted. You are not alone. God is with you and the Brothers are with you. They’ll support you. If you don’t find me alive don’t worry but accept God’s will.”
We know how painful and irreplaceable it is to us and Tom’s family losing such a credible soul. Our sincere condolences to the bereaved family members, relatives, Franciscan Brothers fraternity and friends. We, the Franciscan Brothers fraternity are with you in thoughts and prayers. May Tom’s humble soul rests in God’s abode. May God console all of us who are affected by this loss during this difficult time in our lives. Rest in Peace, Tom
Welcome to the website of the Franciscan Brothers of the Third Order Regular as we celebrate our bicentennial year of serving God’s people. You are meeting us at a marvelous time in our epic journey from the early days of catechesis and rudimentary education for the rural poor in the west of Ireland to our mission today of enhancing human sustainability via formal education in agricultural and academic skill development among the rural poor in Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan.
In pursuing our mission and setting forth on another 200 year journey, we are reminded that new times call for new methods. In the words of Pope Francis, “For new wine, new wineskins.” That message was the driving force of our just concluded General Chapter and in the joyful celebration of our bicentennial which occured on Sunday, when we formally celebrated with Mass, followed by lunch in Mountbellew (Link to Photo Gallery)
His Excellency, Francis Duffy, Archbishop of Tuam, was the main celebrant, with concelebrants, Most Reverened Tom Deenihan, Bishop of Meath, Fr, Aidan McGrath, OFM Provincial in Ireland, and Fr. Karl Burns, pastor of Mountbellew Parish, Also present were Frs.Joseph Lehman and Seraphim Beshone, members of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis (Loretto, Pennsylvania), and early off-shoot of our Mountbellew community, Another off-shoot Order from Mountbellew are the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, New York, who were represented by Brothers Damien Novello, Bill Boslet, Leonard Conway and Superior General, Gabriel O’Brien. Many local clergy and Religious Sisters were also present on this epic day of celebration. Friends, family and co-workers of the brothers filled the church to capacity Special thanks to the wonderful choir and all who helped in preparing the beautiful ambiance of the worship space. To view the Eucharistic celebration, Click Here
Br. Charles Lagu, Minister General
The Franciscan Brothers of Mountbellew are delighted to announce the election of Brother Charles Lagu OSF, a native of Uganda, as Minister General, at their just concluded General Chapter. Brother Charles is the first non-Irish born Minister General of the Order, which was founded in Mountbellew in the 1820s.
Brother Charles was born on December 15, 1978 in Adjumani District, Uganda, and it was there that his primary and secondary education took place. After secondary school, he joined the Franciscan Brothers of Mountbellew in Kenya. On completion of his initial religious formation program, Charles began his professional education in 2006 at Baraka Agriculture College in Nakuru County, graduating in 2009 with a certificate in Sustainable Agriculture for Rural Development (SARD). He then enrolled at the University of Eldoret and graduated with a B.Sc. in General Agriculture.
After university, Br. Charles engaged in an array of ministries, including teaching and farm management, before becoming principal of Adraa Agricultural College, in his native Uganda. In addition to his educational leadership, Charles has held several key roles with the Franciscan Brothers.
Charles is the youngest of four children, born to his now deceased parents, Ignatius Aribo and Celine Muraa. Both parents passed away while Charles was still in early primary school. Following the death of his mother in 1986, Charles was adopted by his elder brother Gabriel Okudi and his wife, Regina Bayoa. Both his foster parents still live in Adjumani. Charles’ other two brothers, Everest Drichi and Manson Obote, passed away in 2007 and 2010 respectively. His only sister, Jennifer is married and blessed with three children.
The Brothers’ Chapter (General Meeting) concluded in Mountbellew, Co. Galway at the ATU Agricultural College on June 28 and on Saturday July 1, the Brothers celebrated their bicentennial year of service to the People of God.
Joining Br. Charles on the Leadership Team are Brs. Matthew Nyachoti (Kenya), Bernard Kariuki (Kenya), Sean Conway (Ireland) and Hilarion O’Connor (USA).
Delegates to the General Chapter of the Franciscan Brothers:
Brothers from Ireland, Kenya, Uganda and the USA convened on Sunday June 25 at the Franciscan Brothers Agricultural College, Mountbellew, Co Galway, Ireland for our General Chapter. Present at the Chapter were fourteen delegates from Africa, five from the Ireland Region, and two from the USA Region, for a total number of twenty-one brothers. The bothers spent the week in Mountbellew prayerfully discerning a future that aligns more fully to their mission of serving God’s people in the footsteps of Saints Francis and Clare.
Signs of Hope in South Sudan
Play a word association game with Sudan, and the likely responses will include despair, famine, and war. The average American, for instance, could not point to Sudan on a map and not too many are aware that Sudan and South Sudan are two different countries. Formerly a province of Sudan, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, following a long and bloody civil way. With a growing population of 11m, South Sudan is predominantly Christian and home to multiple tribes. More than ten years of peace has allowed this nascent republic to begin coalescing into a unified nationality, although the country is experiencing typical growing pains, such as one-party rule. Still the future is full of hope, thanks to a vital resource: some of the most fertile land in the entire continent. Another source of hope is the presence of the Sustainable Agriculture for Rural Development Institute (SARD), in Tambura Yambio, Diocese of South Sudan. Initiated in 2021 by the diocese, the Institute aims to build “a peaceful, food-secure, and economically enabled society through improved modern sustainable agriculture for rural development.”
Our Franciscan Brother, Boniface Kaylo, a veteran educator in the field of sustainable agriculture for rural development in neighboring Kenya, discerned a call to serve with SARD in South Sudan. There he lives in the bishop’s house and rides his bike to the workplace where he joins his educator-colleagues and the students. According to Boniface, there are thirty-five students pursuing a year’s certificate in sustainable agriculture for rural development. This September, the Institute will have a third intake of students. READ MORE….
The Monks of the West
The historical journey of our brothers through time is marvelously brought to life is this excellent video, aptly titled “The Monks of the West.” Please enjoy. READ MORE…
BBC Interview with Brother Peter Tabichi: In this video, Franciscan Brother and 2019 Global Ambassador for Education, Peter Tabichi, reflects on the challenges and opportunties for teachers and students in these trying times of the Covid virus when students are not able to attend school in person.