The former archbishop of Tuam, Dr Joseph Cassidy, was a man who had the ability to touch the lives of thousands, mourners at his funeral heard at the weekend.
Up to 1,000 people attended the funeral of
the retired archbishop at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Tuam, Co
Galway, on Saturday afternoon.
Dr Cassidy, who was recognised as
one of the most forward-thinking bishops of his time, was fondly
remembered at the service by parishioners from across the archdiocese of
Tuam and the diocese of Clonfert, where he was ordained a bishop in
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore attended the Mass. President Michael D
Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were represented by their aides de
camp. Mr Kenny attended the removal on Friday evening.
celebrant was current Archbishop of Tuam Dr Michael Neary. Eight other
bishops and about 70 priests concelebrated the Mass.
‘Strong, compelling voice’
Cassidy was a master of words. Words, to paraphrase Yeats, ‘obeyed his
call’. Their master’s strong, compelling voice is silent now. A voice
that once summoned them to serve the Gospel is heard no more,” said Dr
“He will be remembered by different people for different
things. However, he will be remembered by everyone who has heard him
speak as one of the outstanding preachers of our time. In his
homilies he made contact with real life which is there in our streets,
our hospital beds, in broken homes and breaking hearts where love and
hate, war and peace, grace and despair intermingle.”
archbishop had served the diocese of Clonfert for 28 years after his
ordination, before a move to the Tuam archdiocese as archbishop in 1987.
He died at his home in Ballinasloe on Thursday last after a period of
As well as being a renowned orator, Dr Cassidy wrote two
books on the art of writing and delivering homilies, These Might Help
and These Might Help Too.
Neary spoke of the unique ability Dr Cassidy had to bring words to
life, both as a teacher in his 20 years at Garbally College in
Ballinasloe and as a priest.
“Few preachers speak with quite the
power of imagination that was his. He brought to his preaching the
precision of a careful scholar and gave life to these dry bones with all
the narrative skills of a novelist and the powerful imagery of a poet.
In him we found a rare combination of warmth, insight and vitality,” he
Dr Cassidy is survived by his sisters Concie, Angela, Mary,
Bernadette, Patricia and Imelda, by his extend family and his wide
circle of friends.
He was buried in the grounds of Moore Church
near Ballinasloe, where he served as parish priest after his retirement
as archbishop of Tuam in 1995 until 2009.