Another good man has gone to his eternal rest having served God and the community in a dedicated way and to the best of his ability through many ups and downs. 

The death on Thursday last of Br John Joe Cahill, formerly of Lyreen, Araglin and Mitchelstown, at Cowper, St Patrick’s Care Centre, Baldoyle, has evoked sadness and many happy memories of interaction with him over the years as teacher, coach, photographer, artist, writer and friend to so many over a life well lived.

Brother Cahill displaying his talents as an artist.

Here in The Avondhu we were fortunate that he gave us the benefit of his photography skills for a period in the 2000s, when distance was no object for assignments and, despite requests to the contrary, the number of quality prints produced far exceeded the number required!

The editor had to cull some of the pictures, more often than not to the displeasure of Brother John, even though the next time we’d go through the same process once again!

Br John’s Christian ethos shone through at all times and it was a pleasure to meet him and hard to move on, such were his interests and talents!

Over the years he submitted many interesting articles on a variety of topics, often accompanied by complementary photographs, to The Avondhu, which brought many favourable comments and a few less so.

One such in 2000 came about as a result of someone questioning his role as a ‘retired Christian Brother’, which is partly reproduced here: ‘I joined the Christian Brothers in August, 1961, starting my teaching career in September 1965 and through my playing days in handball, basketball, swimming, athletics (cross country and track), football and hurling and as a coach in all the above sports up to 1975. From that date onwards I specialised in the coaching of hurling and camogie, attaining the highest coaching qualifications in the country in 1981, in all aspects of hurling coaching and training. I have been called anything and everything under the sun, moon and stars and all to no avail, by friend and foe alike, both complimentary and also compliments of a nature that could not be put in print.

‘But in recent times I have been called a retired Christian Brother. Now, that’s a new one to me. Some of my friends have been asked that burning question on several occasions recently. A Christian Brother’s life in the year 2000 and beyond faces various challenges and many changes in direction, in relation to what could be a Christian Brother’s role in any community throughout the world at any given time or place, as we strive to bring Pope John Paul’s II message of faith to all with whom we come in contact. This could well be in the area of Christian and Catholic education, social work, counselling, helping families in budgeting, assisting children with their homework, working with the poor and desolate in many deprived areas and many other spheres of activity, which was the main message of our reverend founder, Blessed Edmund Rice and working with other religious orders…

‘Well, the simple answer to that question is I am not a retired Christian Brother. I hasten to add before I am asked any searching questions, that I am in fact retired from teaching on health grounds, but I am a member of the Christian Brothers order and proud to be so, come hell or high water as they say and I have no intention of leaving the order. So now, that’s it in a nutshell.’

Br John fought the good fight and, hopefully, at peace from the trials and tribulations of life’s  journey. Let’s hope that he continues as a Christian Brother in God’s heavenly kingdom, reunited with beloved family members and Christian Brothers colleagues in recognition of a life well lived.

Br John is survived  by his sisters Joan Sweeney and Nora Dunne, brothers Martin and Matt, sister-in-law Mary, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, relatives, friends, fellow residents and Brothers in religion, to whom we extend sympathy.

Br John Joe Cahill was laid to rest in his native Araglin Cemetery on Tuesday after requiem Mass.

Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.