Archbishop pays tribute to 'gifted' predecessor


Tributes have been paid to former archbishop of Tuam Dr Joseph Cassidy, who died yesterday morning.

Archbishop of Tuam Dr Michael Neary paid tribute to his “gifted” predecessor who died at his home in Ballinasloe after a period of ill health, aged 79. The retired archbishop had served the diocese of Clonfert for 28 years, including five years as bishop, before he transferred to Tuam as archbishop in 1987. Archbishop Neary replaced Dr Cassidy as Archbishop of Tuam in 1995 and he said a great wave of sadness had enveloped the parishes of the diocese since Dr Cassidy’s death.

“It is a very sad day for the Tuam archdiocese, but also for his family and his sisters’ families: he was very close to his own family. His death casts a great sadness over the diocese,” said Archbishop Neary.

“He ordained me as bishop in 1992 and I then worked as auxiliary bishop alongside him. He was a very kind man and his bishop’s motto was ‘Le caoineas Críost’ or ‘The gentleness and kindness of Christ’.”

A native of Charlestown, Co Mayo, Dr Cassidy was ordained a priest for the Achonry diocese in 1959. He went on loan to the Clonfert diocese soon after, where he took up a teaching role at St Joseph’s College, Garbally, later becoming president of the school. It was there that Dr Cassidy’s real talents came to the fore, according to Archbishop Neary.

“He spent nearly 20 years as a teacher in Garbally College in Ballinasloe and many of his students from that time attribute their love of English literature and interest in drama to him.

“He was a masterful English teacher and succeeded in getting students to appreciate the subject and identify with it, rather than it just being an examination subject.”

Archbishop Cassidy’s remains will arrive at the Cathedral of the Assumption, Tuam, Co Galway, today at 5pm and will repose in the cathedral until 10pm.

Funeral Mass tomorrow is at noon, followed by burial in the grounds of Moore church in Co Roscommon.