The Marist Community in Glasgow buried another of its family, Brother Lewis, on 6 January 2012. The main concelebrant at the funeral Mass was Mgr. John Gilmartin, one of many students who had been taught by Br. Lewis during his career. The music of the Mass was led by the St. Mungo Singers.
Before the Mass began, the choir sang the Introit for the Dead “Just as Jesus died and rose” and Noel Donnelly’s “How blest are those who have died in the Lord”, and Dr. Donnelly played gently meditative clarsach pieces. Then the choir led the congregation in the singing of “Be Thou my Vision” as the priests processed to the Sanctuary.
The homily was given by Br. Brendan, Provincial of the Marists. He recalled Br. Lewis’ life and work – from his birth in Govan, through his training and studies, his teaching career firstly in St. Mungo’s Academy before going to Nigeria. There he had experienced the Biafran war, returning to the country after a brief home visit to help in the distribution of food to the starving population, and facing the dangers of bombing. At the end of the war he had been imprisoned after being captured by Federal troops and took mischievous delight in introducing himself afterwards as an “ex-con”.
Having to leave Nigeria, he studied theology at Maynooth and then became Headmaster at St. Joseph’s College, Dumfries. Subsequently he became Provincial of the Marists and oversaw many developments and remained optimistic about religious life, seeing the world through the eyes of good people. When he finally retired, he remained active, becoming involved in the Wayside Club and many other things.
He lived the Marist values of simplicity, poverty and modesty. The friendships he formed were lifelong. He had a great devotion to Our Lady and was greatly attracted to the idea of Mary as our Sister. When, latterly, he had to move into a Care Home, he made the decision easy for his Brothers. On behalf of the Marist Community, Br. Brendan thanked everyone who had helped Br. Lewis in his last months.
The Mass finished with an appropriately joyful hymn “Thine be the Glory” for a Brother who had completed his journey to the Kingdom.