The Liam and Lorraine Barr Memorial Scholarship was set up by former Pius Superintendent Father Liam Barr in memory of his parents to be distributed to a minority student who is working up to their potential and who is in financial need.
Liam (William) Barr was born in Moville, County Donegal in Ireland in 1920. He was the second born of 13 children to Harry and Minnie Barr. The Barr family grew up in Moville as their parents owned and operated a local tailor shop. All of the Barr children received Catholic educations in Moville and one of the Liam’s younger brothers went on to become a priest in 1952.
Lorraine Barr (maiden name Finlan) was born in Ballina, County Mayo in Ireland in 1925. She was the eldest of 5 children born to Michael and Margaret Finlan. Mr. and Mrs. Finlan owned and operated a small grocery store and bar in Ballina as Lorraine and her siblings grew up. The Finlan children all received Catholic educations in and around Ballina.
Liam met Lorraine during the tumultuous times of World War II and they were married soon after the war ended in January 1946. Both Liam and Lorraine were deeply faithful people, loving their Catholic heritage and dedicated to raising their children in a loving and spiritual Catholic home. They had 5 children—Harry, Liam, Deirdre, David and Declan. Their faith and family helped them endure the loss of Harry at the age of only 3.
In the late 1960’s, the Barr family left Ireland to live in England, just outside London. During that time, their eldest surviving son, Liam, received his vocation to the Priesthood, and he entered the seminary in Ireland. In England, where Catholic education was far less readily available than in Ireland, Liam and Lorraine were determined to ensure that Deirdre, David and Declan all received the best in local Catholic education—with Deirdre attending St. Bernadette’s, David attending St. Joseph’s, and Declan attending St. Mary and St. Joseph’s, all in and around the London area.
Liam Jr. was ordained to the priesthood at St. George’s Cathedral in London, in April 1974 and was assigned to the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln, Nebraska. This was also the beginning of his long association with Catholic education in the Lincoln diocese. For the next 20 years, Fr. Barr was associated with Catholic schools in Wahoo, Nebraska City, and as Superintendent of Pius X High School in Lincoln for 13 years. In 2007, he was honored with the title of Monsignor.
In 1982, the remainder of the Barr family emigrated from London to join Msgr. Barr and Deirdre in Nebraska. Liam and Lorraine were extremely proud of Msgr. Barr’s work in Catholic education and they were supportive of the idea that ALL children who wanted to receive a Catholic education should have the opportunity to do so.
Liam died in December of 1982 and Lorraine died in June of 1995. A fund was established as the Liam and Lorraine Barr Scholarship Fund to support children who wished to attend Pius, and to remind the Pius X community and the student recipients of the scholarship of these dedicated, devout, and loving individuals and their desire to see Catholic education available to all.