The news of the death of Mgr Jim Cassin was greeted with great sadness by his family, many friends and colleagues in the Diocese of Ossory and here in St Kieran’s College. Since his Ordination in 1972 Mgr Jim has been a faithful servant of the people of our Diocese and, thanks to his national roles, the Church in Ireland and given his many years of service here in St Kieran’s College by the College community past and present.
Having received his secondary school education here at St Kieran’s College and also undertaken his seminary formation here, Jim undertook his postgraduate studies in Rome. Mgr Jim then first served in the parish of Hartlepool, in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle in England before returning in 1975 to the teaching staff at St Kieran’s College. In 1987 Jim was appointed Dean of the Seminary before being appointed as President of St Kieran’s College in 1994. While serving as the College President Mgr Jim also worked to establish, and direct, the CREIDIM Adult Religious Education centre for the Diocese of Ossory. His love of St Kieran’s and his ceaseless dedication to the College was clearly evident throughout all the years and Jim remained as a Trustee of the College for many years after he moved to Maynooth.
Jim served as President of the Association of Managers of Catholic Secondary Schools and the Joint Managerial Body representing all voluntary secondary schools in Ireland from 2000 to 2003.. From 2004 until his retirement, on grounds of ill health, Mgr Jim was the Executive Secretary of the Educational Secretariat of the Irish Episcopal Conference. Mgr Jim was widely regarded as having excellent insight into the Irish Education system and was for many years one of the leading voices in Ireland in Education. Mgr Jim had a wide circle of friends from his various appointments – friendships that lasted a lifetime. Mgr Jim will be sadly missed by all those who knew and loved him.
Speaking at Jim’s Funeral Mass in his native Thomastown Bishop Dermot Farrell recognised that Jim “combined a good intellect with great humility and benevolence, a way with people and good sense of humour. He created unity; he was a builder of community around himself, a reconciler. Jim, never wanted to offend; indeed, he never wanted to make a decision that would offend anyone. His presence in the Diocese went beyond any particular task” such was his immense contribution and easy way with people. Jim, then, was a Kieran’s man, servant of others, in so many ways – Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.