Archbishop Dermot Clifford, who will give the address at Cardinal Sean Brady's first Mass on Monday in Rome, is a lifelong friend who describes him as "a very considerate and kind man who is making his mark among the people in Ireland".
Dr Clifford, who is Archbishop of Cashel and Emly in the Republic, first met the new Cardinal when they were classmates at Maynooth.
"We were both 18-years-old and we met on September 18, 1957. For the next few years at Maynooth we sat next to each other in class and in church, and we shared our meals together," he said.
"I always found him an easy man to get on with. He was very solid and steady."
After Maynooth they went to the Irish College in Rome.
Archbishop Clifford said: "SB, as we called him, captained the College sports club. He was a good Gaelic footballer and I well remember his rallying call before every game: 'At it lads, fast and furious!'
"He was tough but fair and highly-regarded."
On January 22, 1964, both men were ordained in St John Lateran Basilica in Rome, where Dr Brady will conduct his first Mass as Cardinal. This will be followed by a reception in the Irish College.
Archbishop Clifford said: "We have kept in touch all these years and there has never been a hard word between us. We also meet regularly at the Irish Bishops' Conference which he chairs. He is a very good chairman.
"In a gentle, yet firm way, he gets consensus and everyone has his say.
"Somebody said to me recently, 'I'm going to Rome to show him support', and I am honoured that he asked me to give the address on Monday. Above all, I want to be there when he gets the red hat'."