1. Pauline Menzies

  2. John Byrne

  3. Fr Kevin Mahoney MAfr

  4. Godfrey Tortoleno

Pauline Menzies

1943 - 2014

The funeral of Pauline Menzies took place in the heart of Shropshire country
on 13th January 2015?a lovely setting for a sad but celebratory service.
The church was full of family and friends, including several 'Pelicans' and Fr Frank Nolan MAfr.

Pat and Pauline Menzies
(Rome 2006)

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John Byrne

1945 - 2015

Message from Robbie Dempsey January 16th 2015:
The funeral of John Byrne took place last Monday 12th Jan 2015 at the MAFR in Dublin. The little chapel at Cypress Grove was crammed full and at least 50 persons (including us Pelicani) were congregating outside for duration of the Mass.
Vincent O'Neill attended (from Mullingar) and also another of John's contemporaries from Blacklion days - Peter O'Reilly (from Clogher, Co. Tyrone) who lives in Belfast.

I had never met any of John's family - but felt I knew them all from John's emails. I was able to pass on our sympathy from the Pelicans scattered far and near. His family were indeed comforted by the wonderful words spoken by Frs. Jean Paul and PJ Cassidy.

John was buried in Bohernabreena Cemetery, in the hills overlooking Dublin in the plot where his young son aged 11 had lain for many years. The WF plot is not far away.

For certain, John is in peace.

Message from Tom Canning :

I would just like to register our sadness on hearing about Johns death today. The attached photo shows John and I when my wife and I visited him in Dublin in 2013, the first time we had met since I left the WF? in 1967.

Could you please if possible pass on my wife and I? condolences to his family through the WF in Ireland .

May God watch over his family. We will have a Mass said here in our parish.

My wife and I met with John at his house when we were on holiday in Dublin in 2013. This was the first time we had met since I left Broomehall in 1967. John made us very welcome and we talked for hours and took photos of each other.

I am so very sad to here of his death and we would like to send our sincere condolences and prayers, to John's family and friends.

May God watch over John and His family.

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Fr Kevin O'Mahoney

1930 - 2015

(source: The White Fathers international website)

From: Fr Ian Buckmaster MAfr

Fr. Kevin O'Mahoney, otherwise known as 'Pancho', died in Adigrat Ethiopia last week. His funeral took place on Monday January 5th in Adigrat. He was 84 years and a bit and was a member of the White Fathers for 62 years. Some of the elders among you may remember him as a Philosophy teacher in Blacklion until his departure for Ethiopia in 1966. He remained there for the rest of his life apart from 6 years as Irish Provincial from 1994 to 2000.

God bless

Ian Buckmaster, M.Afr

From: Fr JP Cassidy MAfr

Dear Ian

We received the sad news this morning that John Byrne died this morning in the Hospice, Harolds, Cross. His funeral will take place on Monday @12.00pm and the family want to hold the funeral mass in our place.

Concerning Kevin RIP, there will a mass of remembrance in Araglin on Wednesday 14th January @ 7.30pm


He died on January 03, 2015, in Ayder Hospital in Mekelle , Ethiopia
at the age of 84 years of which 62 of missionary life in Italy, Ethiopia and Ireland.

Fr Kevin was born in 1930, in the diocese of Salford. He spent his Spiritual Year in
's Heerenberg, from which he took the Oath. In 1953 he was ordained at Monteviot.

01/09/1953 Etudes:Philosofia Roma Italia
20/08/1955 Professeur Blacklion Ireland
12/09/1966 Etudes+Coll.Ethiopi. Roma Italie
01/09/1967 Professeur Adigrat Ethiopia
01/09/1970 SupŽrieur+Professeur
01/09/1983 Professeur
01/07/1994 Provincial Irl. Dublin Ireland
01/07/1997 Prov.Irl.2e mandat
17/05/1998 Membre du Chapitre
12/10/2000 NommŽ EPO
15/10/2000 St Mary's Ag.&T.Sch. Wukro EPO/Ethiopia
15/01/2003 Bishop's Secretary Adigrat
01/11/2005 Diocese Archives
03-01-2015 : Return to the Lord in Ayder Hospital in Mekelle, Ethiopia

Reproduced with kind perrmission of The White Fathers international website

Taken at a Dublin reunion in 1997
Maurice Billingsley sent us the following information from
"Aethiopica 19 (2006)"
The International  Journal of Ethiopian & Eritrean Studies.  
In memoriam Fr. Kevin O'Mahoney (1930-2015)

Kevin was born on May 3, 1930 in Manchester, England. His parents were Irish and he was the youngest in a family of three children. His elder brother, Denis, was a priest in the Diocese of Salford and his sister, Catherine, was a teacher. Kevin joined the Society of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) at the age of 16 after secondary school studies at St Bede's College in Manchester.

He studied Philosophy in Scotland and from 1948 to 1949 he did his Novitiate in 's-Heerenberg, Netherlands. He continued his theological studies there from 1949 to 1952 before returning to Monteviot near Galashiels, Scotland, for his final year of Theology. He took his Missionary Oath on July 25, 1952 in 's-Heerenberg and was ordained on June 11, 1953 in Monteviot. As he was only 23 years old, he needed a dispensation to be ordained. He was immediately sent to Rome to study Philosophy at the Gregorian University and graduated with a Licentiate in 1955. He taught in the Society's seminary in Blacklion, Co. Cavan, Ireland, from 1955 to 1966. He was a good teacher and was well appreciated by the students. He was easy to be with socially and enjoyed a good argument.

The Society appointed him to Ethiopia in 1966. This was in response to a request from abunä Hailemariam Kashay of the Eparchy of 'Addigrat to the Superior General, Fr. Leo Volker, to help in the formation of the local clergy for the tiny Catholic population of Addigrat. He spent a year in Rome study-ing in the Ethiopian College. Kevin, Fr. José Bandres, Fr. Nicolas Gildas and Bro. Max Gemür were the first White Fathers to arrive in the Eparchy of 'Addigrat. He took up his teaching post in 'Addigrat on September 1, 1967. Apart from 6 years as Provincial in Ireland, from 1994 to 2000, this was his life's work. He lived through the reign of Emperor Ḫaylä Śǝllase I, the brutal Därg regime and the revolution of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Kevin also had to double up as an NGO worker in helping the Diocese cope with the enormous number of refugees who came there looking for help during the periods of violence and famine. There were many letters to Irish Aid organisations and to the Irish Government and there was a big response whenhe was featured on some TV and radio programmes appealing for help during the drought of 1984. While 1984 was serious, Kevin believed that the effects of the 1989 famine were worse, as the government was using food as a weapon. Eventually food did get through and things got easier when the EPRDF swept to power. Although the new government was Marxist in outlook, it did work with the Church to improve the lot of the people.

In addition to his teaching duties, Kevin became a writer and historian. His most notable work was a massive history of the Vicariate of Abyssinia, 'The Ebullient Phoenix', and 'Meaza', a historical novel of the Ethiopian Revolution. He is listed as the author of 23 books and articles. He placed great importance in maintaining friendly contacts with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and with the Muslim community, itself a minority group.

He endured all the difficult moments of war and isolation in a spirit of loyalty and fidelity to his mission. It says much that he survived and even blossomed there despite the very painful task of dealing with starving people and especially children. His health began to fail in the last few years and he just made it back to Ethiopia before the pursuing pack of superiors could ground him. He died, where he wished, in his beloved Ethiopia. On January 3, 2015, he fell ill and was brought to Määlä for treatment but died just before midnight. His body was brought back to 'Addigrat. His funeral Mass in the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour, 'Addigrat, was presided over by abunä Tesfaselassie Medhin, Eparch of 'Addigrat. He was buried in the Catholic Eparchial cemetery on January 5, 2015.

A month after he died, on February 6, 2015, a memorial Mass was held in the Chapel of the White Fathers in Dublin. Members of Kevin's family from Manchester came together with a sizeable contingent from Araglin in Co. Cork. The Ethiopian Ambassador to Ireland and a representative of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and representatives of some NGOs working in Ethiopia were also present. Needless to say, there were many neighbours and friends who came to honour a loyal and lively confrere 'who remained faithful to his religious calling and was indeed a person of faith' (abunä Tesfaselassie Medhin).

Bibliographic References
—. 'The Salt Trial', JES , 8/2 (1970), 147–153.
—. 'The Apostolic Succession', African Ecclesial Review, 13 (1971), 45–52.
—. 'The Ethiopian Catholic Rite, 1840–1979', African Ecclesial Review, 22 (1980), 8–16.
—. The Ebullient Phoenix: A History of the Vicariate of Abyssinia, 1839–1916, I (Asmara: Ethiopian Studies Centre, 1982).
—. 'St Justin de Jacobis' Work in Northern Ethiopia', African Ecclesial Review, 26 (1984), 115–122.
—. The Ebullient Phoenix: A History of the Vicariate of Abyssinia, 1839–1916, II (Asmara: Ethiopian Studies Centre, 1987).
—. Meaza of Ethiopia: An Historical Novel of the Ethiopian Revolution (Addis Abeba: United Press, 1991).
—. 'Reflections on Science, Chance and Intelligence', Ethiopian Cultural Review, 1 (1991), 94.

—. The Ebullient Phoenix: A History of the Vicariate of Abyssinia, 1839–1916, III (Addis Ababa: United Press, 1992). —. 'The Spice of Northern Ethiopian Values', Ethiopian Cultural Review, 1 (1992).994
—. The Spirit and the Bride: A Manual of Church History. Book One (Addis Ababa: Unit-ed Printers, 1994).
—. 'The Ethiopian Church and the African Synod', Doctrine and Life, 44 (1994), 181–182. 2002
—. The Ebullient Phoenix. A History of the Vicariate of Abyssinia, 1839–1916, Revised in one volume (Addis Ababa: United Printers, 2002).

—. Blessed Abba Gebre Michael, Ethiopian Priest and Martyr (Addigrat: Eparchy of Addigrat, 2003). Articles in EAe , I: with Matthew C. Curtis, 'Agula', 153a–b; 'Bel,Pierre-Louis', 523b–524a; 'Biancheri, Lorenzo', 562a–b; with Ayele Teklehaymanot, Donald Crummey, and Ste-ven Kaplan, 'Catholicism', 699a–701b.
Articles in EAe , II: 'Delmonte, Carlo', 128b–129a; with Wolbert Smidt, 'Finfinnee', 544a–546a; 'Gäbrä Mikaʾel', 625b–626a; 'Gwal'a', 938a–b; 'Ḫaylä Maryam Kaḥśay', 1057a–

Article in EAe , III: ' Ḥebo', 5b–6b.
Article in EAe , IV: 'Täklä Haymanot', 85a–b.
—. Saint Justin de Jacobis and his Beloved Disciple Abba Gebre-Michael (Addigrat: Eparchy of Addigrat, 2011).
Article in EAe , V: 'Yo ḥann ǝs Wäldä Giyorgis', 839a–b. s.d.
—. Assabol : The Story of Greening Desert, illustrations and layout: P. Troxler (Addigrat: Addigrat Diocesan Development Action–Eparchy of Addigrat, s.d.)

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Fr Godfrey (Francis) Tortoleno

1935 - 2015

The following was cpied from

Fr GodfreyTortolano went home to his Father's house on Sunday, 1st February 2015. The reception of his remains took place in Duns Scotus Church, Glasgow, on Sunday 8th February 2015 at 7.30 p.m. and his Requiem was celebrated on the 9th February at 11.30 a.m. followed by interment at Dalbeith Cemetery.

A brief summary:

Godfrey was born in Bannockburn, Scotland 27 November 1935

He was admitted to the Novitiate 9 September 1955

His First Profession was made 10 September 1956

He was ordained priest 24 September 1960

Fr Godfrey died 1 February 2015

At the Funeral Mass Br Eddie Highton delivered the following homily:

Godfrey? often repeated greeting at the beginning of Mass would be:
?ood morning God? Holy people!?and with that look of mischief in his eyes as he looked around would continue with ?nd the rest of you!?br>
At first, this shocked a few people but they soon became aware that this was only the beginning. He used shock tactics, yes, but only so that his proclamation of the Word of God might be more powerful and memorable.

He would have enjoyed the readings of today? Mass because so many of his favourite themes could be touched upon: the getting ready for the trials of service; being ready to be exiles from the body; and walking in the hidden presence of the Lord.

These were themes which he would elaborate on and bring us to an awareness of: that presence of a Christ, socially aware, compassionate, with no time for the hypocritical or self righteous, and encouraging us to that awareness also.

He was born in Bannockburn on 27 November 1935, christened with the name Francis. He entered the Minor Seminary of the White Fathers and studied with them until, after Philosophy, he changed tack and entered the Franciscan Novitiate in 1955. Here he was given the name of Godfrey.

So, Francis or Frankie became Godfrey and, if you shortened his name to God, he would smile benignly!! But he was also known as Jim! We all called him Jim in South Africa and I believe this went back to his days at East Bergholt (our Student House) where, at his time of studies, there was a great following of the ?oons? Various students acquired nicknames and Godfrey? nickname ?im?stuck!

He was ordained in 1960 and was posted after Pastoral studies to the Friary in Manchester. This was for a short time only, as he realised his desire to work on the Missions. He was sent in 1963 to work in the Prefecture Apostolic of Volksrust, entrusted to the English Franciscan Province. This Prefecture covered a huge area nearly the size of Ireland. At that time it boasted of about twenty priests. The immediate need for Godfrey was to learn the Zulu language as he was based in the Zulu speaking area. He became very fluent and proficient in the language. It was, of course, the time of the most extreme enforcement of the Apartheid laws of South Africa and the displacement of the indigenous people of the country. Godfrey with the other friars and priests opposed these unjust laws and were under constant surveillance by the Police and Special Branch. I think he was just too smart for the Special Branch for them to pin him down and have him deported.

However, Godfrey continued his work having a great and profound influence especially on the Youth and produced a Zulu magazine for the youth. This magazine lasted many years. He also branched out into teaching English to the Zulu people using a method called ?peration Upgrade?which entailed the transforming of the letters of the alphabet into recognisable shapes for people who had no knowledge of the alphabet. The letter ??was transformed easily into a bird shape. Godfrey would teach the people ?his is the letter b for bird??ay b for bird?but his Scottish accent intervened and the people would reply in chorus ?birrrrd?

The Prefecture Apostolic became the Diocese of Dundee in 1983 and Godfrey was a tremendous support for the new Bishop and long time friend Paschal Rowland.

Times were changing and the ?ind of change was blowing through Africa? But this brought much violence politically and tribally. In all of this Godfrey remained with his Zulu people and worked and argued for change and reconciliation.

This change came about in 1994 with the first truly democratic elections in South African history. In a sense he felt his work was done: democracy had been achieved, our Diocese was established and the Franciscan Order was established as an independent entity.

So when he realised the needs of our home Province he offered to remain after a Sabbatical at our Study Centre in Canterbury. He was soon named as Guardian of the House and quickly moved to other houses of the Province in leadership roles. He spent some time in Edinburgh before a stay in Glasgow. From Glasgow he moved as Chaplain to the Carmelite Sisters in Dysart, Kirkcaldy where his Sunday sermons had people crowding into the Church so that it was standing room only. But it was here that he had the first of many strokes which broke down his already frail health. He moved back to Glasgow in 2008 and stayed there until his death on the 1st February 2015.

He was well liked for his humour, his lateral thinking approach to everything, his challenging sermons and love of crosswords and his pipe! In fact there was a suggestion that we use some of his pipe tobacco instead of incense at the funeral! But Godfrey had a great and loving devotion to our Blessed Lady and to St Joseph as well as St Francis. I would often find him in his room lying on his bed with the beads passing through his fingers.

Loved and missed by his brother Franciscans and many, many people in different parts of the world. He was waiting like St Francis for Sr Death and embraced her coming. May he rest in peace.

Hamba kahle umfowethu nomgane wethu. Ngena entokozweni yeNkosi. Amen
(Go well our brother and friend, enter into the joy of the Lord. Amen)

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