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The Barga Brotherhood

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By Susie Bergman

In North Star, OH, nestled on the border of Mercer and Darke Counties, a strong lineage of brotherly vocations continues to emerge. This one-church, one-stoplight town is home to only 229 residents, but many could argue that the Barga (pronounced Bar-gee) family makes up most of them. In the late 1800s, Victor and Anna Barga settled there and raised 13 children. Within this family, the foundation of Barga brother vocations took root.

Brothers Thaddeus Adrian “Ted” Barga (1923-2014) and Louis Jacob Barga (1927-2005) both committed their lives to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Thaddeus entered the society in 1950 and became professed as a religious brother in 1951. Louis entered in 1942 and was ordained in 1954.

Although it may have taken nearly 70 years for history to repeat itself, another set of Barga brothers have committed their lives to God’s calling. Abbé Alex Barga and his brother, Justin Barga, are the great nephews of Brother Adrian and Father Louis. Abbé Alex has been a Brother of The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest for the past 12 years. Justin joined the same order to discern his religious calling in August.

Abbé Alex currently serves at the St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis, MO. Like most young people raised in this rural family area, he admitted that he imagined himself married and raising a family. But after graduating from Versailles High School in 2005, he found himself discerning a calling he couldn’t ignore.

“I was going to college and found myself being pulled to the religious life. I decided to investigate many religious orders that best suited my desire to become a brother of the Catholic Church,” said Abbé Alex. “The balance of work and prayer life that it offered appealed to me.”

He added that his active prayer life and work at the Oratory has been very fulfilling.

“I have been part of the Church’s restoration project that began in 2005. At the time, there were only about 50 people attending Mass, now we have close to 1,000 every Sunday.”

When asked about his brother Justin’s recent commitment to the same order, Abbé Alex noted that his brother did consult with him, but did his own research and visited many orders before deciding. “I think he took a bigger leap than I did. He is in his mid-20s, had already graduated college with a degree in information technology and was working full-time. It’s a risk to leave that all behind for a year to discern.”

No matter what the future holds for Justin, it’s clear there is a strong vocational calling within the family lineage of the Bargas. With so many young members of Victor and Anna Barga’s extended family still in the area, it’s encouraging to imagine what the next generation might bring.

Editor’s Note: After reading this article, pray the following:

Prayer for Vocations
Almighty Father, You have created us for some definite purpose. Grant us the grace to know the path, You have planned for us in this life and to respond with a generous “Yes.”

Make our archdiocese, parishes, homes and hearts fruitful ground for Your gift of vocations.
May our young people respond to Your call with courage and zeal.
Stir among our men a desire and the strength to be good and holy priests.
Bless us with consecrated religious and those called to a chaste single life, permanent deacons, and faithful husbands and wives, who are a sign of Christ’s love for His Church.
We commend our prayer for vocations to You, Father, through the intercession of Mary our Mother, in the Holy Spirit, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

– Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr

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