It was with a deep sense of shock and sadness that the parishioners of Clonoulty-Rossmore awoke to the news of the passing of our beloved parish priest, Fr. Jim Fogarty on 20th July. Fr. Jim had bravely battled against cancer for the previous twelve months and only succumbed to his illness in the last few days.
On a personal level Fr. Jim, though shy by nature, was affable and enjoyed people’s company. While trenchant in his views, he was sympathetic to those in difficulty and gave solid counsel to those who sought his advice.
Fr. Jim was never far from the land and nature. Shortly after arriving in Carrigeen in August 1992 he remodelled the place to accommodate his few horses and cattle. Much was achieved during his time in the parish. Shortly after his arrival two tennis courts were built in Clonoulty village. Major refurbishment of Rossmore church was undertaken and grottos in honour of Our Lady were constructed in the church grounds in both Rossmore and Clonoulty. The three schools in the parish were also extended and refurbished under his stewardship while the racquet ball court in Rossmore also came into being.
Despite all his involvement in diverse parish projects, Fr. Jim’s priority was always his priestly duty which he undertook very seriously and conscientiously. It gave him great satisfaction to see our churches full for our Christmas and Easter ceremonies and indeed, for weekly Masses.
Fr. Jim had a deep interest in Irish culture and traditions exemplified in his passion for the G.A.A. He had been pro-active in the promotion of our national games in his previous parishes of Cappawhite, Gortnahoe-Glengoole and Ballinahinch-Killoscully and maintained his interest in our parish. It was not by chance that the finest years of the Clonoulty-Rossmore G.A.A. club were when Fr. Jim was our parish priest and club president. We always had his blessing, advice and encouragement, not to mention some generous financial assistance when required. Fr. Jim loved to visit the Summer Camp, Cul Camp and Little League to watch the younger generations develop and he was a regular at club games. He also took a keen interest in our camogie club and got immense satisfaction following Tipperary camogie during their finest years when his niece Philly was playing.
Fr. Jim’s passing has been an immeasurable loss to his parish. We extend our sympathy to his family at this sad time, particularly to his sister, Sr. Francis, his brothers John and Phil and Phil’s wife Breda. We remember his nieces and nephews who were so kind to him in his final days, especially Mary who was constantly by his side in his hours of need. We also sympathise with his housekeeper Kathleen who served him faithfully for 35 years.
After your life’s honest and faithful service, Fr. Jim, may you enjoy a well deserved rest and enjoy the banquet of heaven. Thank you for the good times. I measc na n-aingeal is na naomh go raibh a anam dilis.