1912 – 2006 (March 13)
John Vincent Casey was born on August 4, 1912, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the son of John M. Casey and Mary Pomeroy, one of four brothers and three sisters. He was baptized on August 8, 1912 at Saint Mary's Church, Lawrence, and attended that parish elementary school, graduating in 1926. He received his high school education as a postulant at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York. He was received into the novitiate September 12, 1931, and after a year at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, N.Y., he professed simple vows on September 13, 1932. He pursued studies at Villanova College from 1932 to 1936, and professed solemn vows on September 13, 1935. He completed his theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., and was ordained to the priesthood by Michael Curley, Archbishop of Baltimore, on May 30, 1939 at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington. He obtained an MA in Political Science, International Law, from the Catholic University, Washington, in 1940.
Father Casey's first assignment in 1940 was as professor of Social Studies at Colegio San Agustin, Iloilo, Philippines. With the outbreak of World War II and the capture of the Philippines, he, along with other American Augustinians, was placed under house arrest at the Colegio on December 8, 1941, and later imprisoned with other priests at the Dominican College of Saint Thomas in Manila. After the liberation of the Philippines in 1945, Father Casey returned to the United States and was assigned to Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, N.Y. In 1947, he was assigned to the newly founded Merrimack College, North Andover, Mass., as Assistant to the President. He then served as Associate Pastor at St. Laurence O'Toole Parish in Lawrence, Mass., from 1948 to 1955, where he served not only the parish, but was chaplain at local hospitals. He was assigned to Saint Mary's Parish, Lawrence, in 1955, and was also chaplain to Central Catholic High School and to the Marist Brothers who staffed the school. In gratitude, the Marists affiliated him to the Marist Brotherhood. From 1968 to 1979, he served as pastor at Saint Augustine Parish, Troy, N.Y. While there, he was also chaplain to the local Fire Departments. In 1979, he returned to Lawrence to serve as associate pastor at Holy Rosary Parish from 1979 to 1990. In 1990, he left parish ministry to live at the Monastery at Merrimack College, until 2001 when he moved to the Health Care Unit at Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova.
Father Casey had a life-long love for the New York Yankees, and a dislike for rice, because of his time of imprisonment in the Philippines. The Province Archives possesses audiotapes which record vivid and detailed reminiscences of his imprisonment.
The Eucharist was at the heart of Father Casey's life, and his time at the Health Care Unit saw him always praying his breviary or his rosary. A cheerful man and dedicated priest, he fostered fraternal life in all the places he lived. His unwavering faith in God was manifested by the spiritual advice that he gave to many, "Never underestimate the power of God."
Father Casey passed over to the Lord on Monday afternoon, March 13, 2006, at the Villanova Monastery. A funeral Liturgy was held at the St. Thomas Monastery Chapel, on Thursday, March 16, 2006. A second Liturgy was celebrated at Saint Mary of the Assumption Church, Lawrence, on Saturday, March 18, 2006, with burial following at Saint Mary's Cemetery, Lawrence.