Funeral Liturgy for Jim Fahy RIP including homily of Father Pat Farragher

17 Jan 2022

At 12 noon today, the Funeral Mass for the late Jim Fahy RIP will be celebrated in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Tuam.  Father Pat Farragher, Administrator of Tuam Cathedral,  will be chief celebrant at this Mass which will be concelebrated by Father Richard Gibbons, PP of Knock.  Archbishop Francis Duffy will be in attendance.  The President of Ireland will be represented by Colonel Stephen Howard.

Due to public health advice, there will be limited capacity in the cathedral.  The Mass will be live-streamed at

Chief Mourners
Christina Fahy, Jim’s wife; son, Shane and daughter, Aideen; Brenda (daughter-in-law) and Aideen’s fiancé Colm. 

Soloist, Paul Keating; Keyboard, Gerry Fahy; Irish music provided by members of the extended Fahy family.

The Funeral Mass

Blessing on arrival    The Cloud’s Veil

                                    The Coolin (Instrumental)

Entrance Hymn         Amazing Grace

Introduction and welcome by Father Pat Farragher

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome. 

May I ask you to be seated, please.

I welcome you all to the Cathedral of the Assumption this afternoon for the funeral Mass Jim Fahy of Kilcloghans. 

I welcome his wife Christina, son Shane and daughter Aideen, daughter in law Brenda and Aideen’s fiancee Colm. 

Welcome to the Cathedral this afternoon as we say farewell to Jim, known to many far and wide through his vocation as a journalist and broadcaster but known best to you as a husband, dad, and granddad.

I welcome Jim’s brother Pat and his wife Nora together with the extended Fahy and O’Reilly families.

We are joined today by the Archbishop of Tuam, Francis Duffy. Welcome, Archbishop.

Ba mhaith liom fáilte críoúil a chuir roimh an Coirnéal Stephen Howard Ionadaí Uachtarán na hEireann Micheál D. Ó hUigín.  Cúis ónoir dúinn ionadaí an Uachtarán a bheith inár gcuideachta agus muid ag fágáil slán ag Jim Fahy agus ag guimhe go dtabharfaidh Dia suaimhneas síoraí dó.  Thar ceann muintir Úi bhFathaigh, thar cheann an Ardeaspag agus thar cheann an phobail seo, tá míle fáilte romhat go Tuaim a Choirnéal.

Many former colleagues of Jim join us, both from the print and broadcast media, and I want to welcome you warmly to Tuam Cathedral today.

Concelebrating this Mass with me is Father Richard Gibbons, Parish Priest of Knock and rector of the National Marian Shrine.

To all of you who are joining us remotely today by means of the webcam, you are very welcome, and I invite you to join your prayers with the prayers of this Mass for Jim and for all who will miss his presence so much in their lives. 

We gather to say farewell to Jim and to give thanks for his life. Finally, we ask God to be merciful to him and pray that he will now be at peace after his rich and fruitful life of seventy-five years.

We stand in solidarity with Christina, Shane and Aideen in your loss and pray that you will be comforted by many memories of happy times spent together, comforted by the assurances of our faith, comforted too by the great legacy Jim leaves in his wake.

To symbolise some aspects of that legacy, I now invite Jim’s daughter-in-law Brenda to introduce a number of symbols, which will be brought forward by Jim’s grandchildren, representing various aspects of his life.

To prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries, my brothers and sisters, let us call to mind our sins and ask God’s forgiveness.

Introduction of Symbols by Brenda Boylan (daughter-in-law)

Symbols brought forward by grandchildren:

Jim’s microphone & photograph of Jim outside World Trade Centre (Dylan)

Clay from Fahy homestead in Glanmeen Kilreekill  (Amy)

Photograph of Jim’s sailing boat “Mayhem” (Hugh)

First Reading  Read by Adrienne Devlin (niece)
Ecclesiastes 3:1-10

Responsorial Psalm I Watch the Sunrise

Second Reading Read by Cara Fahy (niece)
2 Cor 4:16-5:1

Gospel Acclaimation Hallelujah

John 1:1-14

Homily by Father Pat Farragher
In recent weeks we have celebrated the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord. The Prologue of Saint John’s Gospel which we have just heard, is read on several occasions throughout the season of Christmas.  The Prologue speaks of the Word being with God in the beginning.  The Prologue reaches its climax with the lines the “Word became Flesh, he dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that was his as the only son of the father full of grace and truth” John 1:14.

The birth of our Lord, the Word made Flesh, marked a fulfilment of the words of the prophets speaking to God’s people down through the generations.  So it was with Jesus that the Word came to life, and the love of God was expressed no longer in words but in the presence of God’s chosen one, Christ himself.

Jim Fahy, to whom we say farewell today, became known to all of us through his graceful crafting of words.  First, it was the written word during his time as a journalist with the Tuam Herald under the direction of the late Jarlath Burke. Jim started in the Tuam in 1965. Later, following his move to Radio Telefís Éireann in the early seventies, we came to know Jim better through his broadcast word on radio and television. 

The Prologue of Saint John’s Gospel speaks of the Word becoming Flesh.  The vocation of Jim Fahy as a journalist and broadcaster was to seek out the essence of a story in the lived reality, to capture that into a few short sentences together with some footage and share that with the nation through the medium of radio and television.

In that vocation, Jim would often let his subject speak their own words and articulate in the people’s language and words accessible to the viewer or listener.

This aspect of Jim’s life and vocation was symbolised in the microphone brought forward among the symbols at the beginning of today’s liturgy.

The other symbol brought forward was the bowl of clay, the earth of his native place in Glanmeen, Kilreekil in south Galway. The soil of the land farmed by his parents Paddy and Mary Anne Fahy, go ndeanfaidh Dia trócaire ar an mbeirt acu. 

It was in that townland that Jim discovered the importance of place, of a link to a landscape, a rootedness in the land that he never lost or never lost sight of in his vocation as a journalist and broadcaster.

As he moved from Kilreekil to Garbally in Ballinasloe, where he received his secondary education, and on to Tuam, which was to become his second home, that sense of a place, its history, and its people was the hallmark of his trade.

My own earliest memories of Jim Fahy’s voice was in his interviews with (Archbishop Francis’ predecessor) Dr Joseph Cunnane, at the time when the future of the Tuam Sugar Factory was in doubt.  He captured what the factory meant to Tuam and the surrounding hinterland.

I think of him too, oil skin-clad and up to his knees in water, microphone in hand, speaking to a sad and forlorn farmer in East Galway, whose livestock are hungry having been stranded by rising floods.

Who can forget that memorable clip of Jim Fahy on Barr na Cuaige, not far from Knock with heavy Machinery working in the background, earnestly asking Monsignor James Horan, “Monsignor, what exactly is going on here?” “I’m building an airport”, his interviewee replies but don’t tell anyone.  Don’t tell the Department of Transport!”

We have heard in recent days that when Jim Fahy put away his microphone for the last time on New Year’s Eve 2011, he had been the longest-serving regional correspondent in RTÉ.  What an achievement. 

But I am convinced that Jim’s most enduring legacy will be how he mapped the unfolding social history of the people of the west of Ireland over many decades.  It is a history narrated often by the people themselves through Jim Fahy’s gentle yet perceptive questioning and recorded in his “Looking West” Series, which ran from 1977 to 1984. 

He saw the west of Ireland changing before his eyes.  Yet, he managed to seek out the people who could tell that story, put the narrative into words, record those words, catalogue those words and share them with a larger audience.

“The word of God is alive and active,” the author of the letter to the Hebrews writes, “it cuts more finely than any double-edged sword.”  Through articulating the story in words and footage, Jim hoped to improve the lot of the people of the west and bring the hidden costs of peripherality to national attention and mobilise change.

In the first of his letters in the New Testament, Saint Peter says: “Each one of you has received a special grace, so, like good stewards responsible for all these different graces of God put yourselves at the service of others.  If you are a speaker, speak in words which seem to come from God; if you are a helper, help as though every action was done at God’s orders; so that in everything God may receive the glory, through Jesus Christ.”

Jim put his special grace, or bua as the Irish puts it, at the service of others. Later in his career, Jim put the particular graces he received to benefit the poor in the developing world.  We think of his 1976 interview with Mother Teresa of Calcutta; we think of his documentaries from Somalia, Belarus, Haiti, to mention just a few where Jim brought the plight of a suffering people to the world’s attention.  That universal dimension of his labours is symbolised in the photograph of Jim outside the site of the World Trade Centre in New York (brought up among the symbols).

A phobail Gabhimid buíochas le Dia inniu as ucht a shathaor luachmhar.  Guimid go dtabharfidh Dia suaimhneas síoraí dó anois.

We give thanks today for Jim’s rich legacy, and we stand in solidarity with Christina, with Shane and Aideen, who knew Jim as a husband, a Dad and a grandad.  You have known the various seasons of Jim’s life mentioned in the first reading read by Adrienne.  A time for dance and a time for laughter.  A time for relaxing on his sailing boat.  A time for gathering stones together, a time for planting and a time for reaping.” 

Though today may be the time for tears, they are tears tempered by gratitude as we gather the many aspects of Jim Fahy’s life and offer it back to God in thanksgiving along with the Bread and Wine of this Mass.

We pray that Jim may now be taken to that eternal dwelling mentioned by Saint Paul in our second reading today 2 Cor 5:1, “an everlasting home not made by human hands.”  There may he be reunited with his beloved parents, Paddy and Mary Anne.  There may he rest in eternal peace.

On behalf of all who join in this celebration of Jim’s funeral Mass today, those here in the Cathedral and those gathered outside, on behalf of Archbishop Francis, my colleague Father Sean and Father Richard, I offer our heartfelt sympathies to you, Christina, to Shane and Aideen, to Brenda and Colm and Jim’s adored grandchildren: Amy, Dylan, Hugh, Clodagh and Dara, to Jim’s brother Pat and his wife Nora, to his nieces, nephews brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and all the extended family and former work colleagues we offer our heartfelt sympathies to you at this time. 

For Jim, we pray, “Eternal Rest Grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him, May he rest in peace. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God Rest in Peace.”

Prayers of the Faithful read by nephews and nieces of Jim: Justin May, Tamara O Reilly, Damian Fahy, Keith O Reilly, Derek O Reilly, Jane O Reilly.

Offertory                    Ag Críost an Síol (Instrumental)

Communion Rite       Ár N’Athair

Communion Hymn   Panis Angelicus

                                    Ashoken Farewell

Eulogy will be given by Jim’s Son and Daughter: Shane & Aideen Fahy

Reflection                    The Parting Glass

Final Commendation Jesus Remember Me

Recessional                 Time to Say Goodbye


For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm +353 (0) 87 310 4444.