Bishop Edward Daly’s tribute to Jim Cantwell RIP

23 Aug 2013

Bishop Edward Daly’s tribute to Jim Cantwell RIP

I am greatly saddened by the news of the death of Jim Cantwell.   He was a good friend and colleague.

It was decided at the Special Meeting of the Irish Episcopal Conference in Mulrany in 1974 that, in line with recommendations of the Second Vatican Council, a Press and Information Office should be established to serve the Irish Church and the Irish and international media.  I was tasked with setting up this office.

The Press and Information Office was established and opened in Booterstown Avenue in Dublin in February 1975.  Jim Cantwell was chosen from a multitude of candidates to head the office and became first Press and Information Officer for the Irish Episcopal Conference.  He served in that post for the next 25 years until his retirement in 2000.

Before his appointment to the Press and Information Office, Jim had served as a journalist with The Universe.  He was a native of Waterford, a fine journalist and a most pleasant, affable person.  He was greatly respected and liked by his fellow journalists and bishops.  He gained an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Church here in Ireland and around the world.  Jim was in charge of the Press Office during the Papal Pilgrimage to Ireland of Blessed John Paul II in 1979, which was the third of his pontificate.  Jim was in Rome serving the Irish media for major events like the canonisation of Saint Oliver Plunkett, the death of Pope Paul VI, the elections of Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II and various consistories and other events.  In his latter years he had the most difficult task of dealing with the fall-out from the various issues that beset the Church in the 1990s.

Jim had vast knowledge of conclaves and papal elections and was the author of various authoritative articles on these matters.  He always prepared his work methodically and with great diligence.   Jim Cantwell was a man who served the Church and people who worked in the media with unfailing courtesy, respect and professionalism.

I offer my sincere and heartfelt sympathy to his wife, Eileen and to his family, children and grandchildren whom he greatly loved.

May he rest in peace.

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilis”

+ Edward Daly

Notes to Editors

  • Funeral Mass will take place on Saturday morning, 24 August, in Saint Michael’s Church, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, arriving at 9.45am for 10.00am Mass, followed by cremation at Mount Jerome Crematorium.
  • Bishop Edward Daly is Bishop Emeritus of Derry

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