TRIBUTES have been paid to the former Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Joseph Cassidy, who has died.
The current 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.
Dr Neary replaced Dr Cassidy in 1995. He said a 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.
Dr Cassidy was ordained for the Achonry diocese in 1959. But he was loaned to the Clonfert diocese soon after, where he took up a teaching role at St Joseph's College, Garbally, in Ballinasloe, and later became president of the school.
"He spent nearly 20 years as a teacher in Garbally College in Ballinasloe and many of his students 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."
Cardinal Sean Brady said Dr Cassidy was a man of supreme pastoral care, with a wonderful understanding of people he worked with.
"Superbly gifted as a communicator, Archbishop Cassidy dedicated much time to honing and chiselling words to sensitively fit the occasion," he said.
The remains of Dr Cassidy will arrive at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Tuam this evening at 5pm and will be reposing there until 10pm.
The funeral Mass will take place tomorrow at 12pm, also at the cathedral in Tuam, followed by burial afterwards in the grounds of Moore Church.